The port’s efficiency in handling over dimensional cargo has helped it gain the edge

The VO Chidambaranar Port in Thoothukudi has emerged as a major gateway in the south for windmill/tower exports with the volume gradually increasing in the last three years. The port’s capability and efficiency in handling such over dimensional cargo has helped it gain the edge over other major ports.

In 2018-19, the port handled 2,883 windmill and blades. This increased to 3,065 in 2019-20 and to 4,462 in 2020-21. Till June in this financial year, the port handled 423 windmill and blades, according to port data.

Companies like Vestas, Nordex, LM Power and GE are using the port for exports, said a port official. For example, the long wind blades manufactured at Chennai Sriperumbudur travel all the way to Thoothukudi, a distance of 580 km than going to Chennai, Kamarajar or Katupalli ports (a distance of less than 75 km), he said.

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On June 10, the port handled a single export consignment of 24 windmill blades of length 77.50 m, the longest of its kind handled through the port with Nordex India Pvt Ltd as the shipper. The windmill blades were transported by NTC Logistics India Private Ltd, using specialised wind blade and tower transportation flatbed trucks from Sriperumbudur.

The long wind blades were stacked conforming to the safety standards and the vessel sailed from the port on June 13 for the Port of Aransas, USA.

A day before, the port handled 84 Vestal windmill blades of length 74.90 m in a single consignment.

‘Handled with utmost care’

“The VOC Port is witnessing a notable surge in wind power components hitting its docks by handling 423 windmill blades and frames during this financial year (up to June 14),” said the port’s chairman TK Ramachandran. Of late, the size of windmill rotor blades is getting longer, and utmost care is being taken for the shipment of windmill components, he added.

Location of port vital

R Gunasekaran, Head of Transportation and Customs, Vestas, said that the location of VOC port is one of the vital factors for the success in the windmill component export business. The port is well connected with the major cities in south India. Particularly Vestas windmill components are oversized in nature and the wide-open storage yards offered by the port have very well supported our growth in exports, he said.

The port has a space of around 1.68 lakh sq m allocated for storage of windmill blades and towers inside the port’s Custom bound area. Most of the logistics providershave their own land for storage of windmill blades around Tuticorin.

The port is also in the process of extending the custom bound area to a tune of 75,000 sq m by creating storage space from the reclaimed land from dredging, said a port official.

The port has facilitated 8-lane approach roads and the bridges to facilitate seamless entry of the specialised windmill blade and tower transportation flatbed trucks which are 40 feet expandable by 67 feet m long. Exclusive lane has also been earmarked for transit of windmill blades and tower, he said.

Source: The Hindu Business Line