The dream to transform Visakhapatnam into a transhipment hub may become a reality with Visakhapatnam Port Authority (VPA) declaring the completion of the expansion of its container terminal billed as one of the best facilities with the deepest natural depth of 16 metres.
The expansion undertaken at a pre-revised expenditure of Rs 633.11 crore by the build-operate-transfer (BOT) operator JM Baxi Group allows the terminal to handle a small vessel and two large liners of 350 metre length with a capacity of 20,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) containers.
VPA Chairman K Rama Mohana Rao told the media that the container terminal expansion after completion adds to our capacity and will help us to enhance the ranking in the future by attracting more import and export cargo.
VPA is also gearing up to face competitors amid reports that a nearby private port is also making efforts to enter into the container business. VPA has already concentrated on growing its client base with the introduction of end-to-end logistics solutions.
The terminal exports aluminium, agricultural products, alloys, and frozen seafood mainly shrimp and steel to China, the Far East, Western Europe, and Southeast Asia. Frozen shrimp goes to China and the USA. It imports scrap, wood pulp, chemicals, refractories, and ores from China, the USA, and the Middle East. Now the capacity has increased from 0.7 million TEUs to 1.3 million TEUs. Our strategic location, infrastructure, and facilities will surely enhance operations significantly, Anil Narayanan, Deputy COO of Visakha Container Terminal Private Ltd (VCTPL), told the media.
VCTPL is the special purpose vehicle (SPV) floated to execute the container terminal project under the BOT model. The terminal was the first to jump back after Hudhud struck the city in 2014. Though there was some delay in developing the project due to revenue sharing initially and subsequently due to economic slowdown, the terminal expansion has been finished successfully.
The terminal before the Covid-19 pandemic had a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22%. In 2018-19, the terminal handled 4.5 lakh TEUs, followed by 5.02 lakh in 2019-20, 4.81 lakh in 2020-21, and 5.11 lakh TEUs in 2021-22.