Port Wings News Network:
Despite COVID-19 pandemic induced slump in global trade, V.O. Chidambaranar Port, one of the major ports under the administrative control of Union Government of India and located in Tamil Nadu, has handled 31.79 million tonnes of cargo – 22.53 million tonnes of imports, 9.18 tonnes of exports and 0.08 tonnes of transshipment – during 2020-21 fiscal year. According to the port officials, this is 11.89% lesser than the previous fiscal, mainly due to the pandemic.
In terms of containers, the port has handled 7.62 lakh twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers during this fiscal, again registering a decrease of 5.22% over the previous year’s container traffic of 8.04 TEUs.
During the financial year 2020-2021, V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust handled Cargo traffic of 31.79 Million Tonnes, against the previous year’s achievement of 36.08 Million Tonnes, registering a decrease of 11.89%. Imports have accounted for 22.53 Million Tonnes (70.86 %) and Exports accounted for 9.18 Million Tonnes (28.90%) and Transhipment accounted for 0.08 Million Tonnes (0.24 %).
In terms of containers, the Port has handled 7.62 Lakh, Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) of Containers in the year 2020-21, registering a decrease 5.22% over previous year’s container traffic of 8.04 Lakh TEUs.
Inspite of COVID-19 pandemic sending shockwaves through the supply chains, shipping networks and Ports, leading to plummeting Cargo volumes during the last financial year, the Port’s operational efficiency was not compromised and has created a number of notable records like;
I. Handling 106.54 Lakh tonnes of Coastal cargoes, surpassing the previous record traffic of 102.69 lakh tonnes.
II. M/s. PSA SICAL Container Terminal, handled 4,413 TEUs of containers, the highest volume from a single vessel, bettering the previous record of 3,979 TEUs of containers.
III. Unloading 56,687 Tonnes of Coal in 24 hours at Berth No.9, surpassing the earlier record of 55,785 tonnes.
IV. Handling 5,628 TEUs of Container in a single day, surpassing the previous record of 4,524 TEUs.
V. Handling 1,89,395 Tonnes of Cargo in a single day, surpassing the earlier record of 1,80,597 Tonnes.
VI. Handling longest wind blades of length 74.90 metres surpassing the previous longest wind blade of 72.40 metres.
VII. Handling 81,013 TEUs of Containers which is the highest ever number of TEUs handled by the Container Terminal in a single month, surpassing the previous highest performance of 80,474 TEUs of containers.
V O Chidambaranar Port’s Operating Income amounted to Rs. 549.51 Crores during 2020-21, as against Rs. 582.90 Crores during the previous year, and the Operating Surplus Rs. 322.63 Crores, as against Rs. 328.71 Crores in 2019-20. The Net surplus after Tax was Rs. 113.72 Crores as against Rs. 135.23 Crores.
The Port has initiated Proposals for Dredging of North Cargo Berth-III to a draft of 14.20 metres at an estimated cost of Rs.64.15 crores. In order to facilitate ships of Beam 49 metres and LOA of 366 (Existing Beam 48 metres , LOA 310 metres) to call VOC Port, widening of the Port’s entrance channel from 152.40 Metres to 230 Metres at a cost of Rs. 15.24 Crores has also been taken up by the Port.
To cater the growing Container Traffic forecast, Port is in the process of developing its Third Container Terminal under Public Private Partnership.
To facilitate Ease of Doing Business, installation of State of Art Drive Through Container Scanner, having the capacity to scan 100 Trucks per hour, at a cost of Rs.47 crores is nearing its completion.
To ensure the safe handling of LPG & POL products as per OSID Guidelines, Port is revamping the Fixed Fire Fighting System at an estimated Cost of Rs 17.5 Crores.
As a trendsetter among Major Ports of the Country, the Port is all set to be become the ‘First Green Port of India’, by adopting an integrated Green Energy Port Model. The Port has taken up the installation of grid connected 5 MW ground-based Solar power plant at a cost of Rs.19.81 Crores. VOC Port has been a frontrunner in implementing various Green Port initiatives and has already installed 500 KW rooftop solar power plant. Installation of another 140 KW roof top solar project is in progress. The Port is also in the process of installing onshore and offshore wind turbines to harness wind potential at its premises.
The Port has also identified 2000 acres of land for setting up of Port-based industries (Tuticorin – SPEEDZ). In Phase-I, tenders were invited for allotment of 334.30 acres and the Port has received good response and Port land will be allotted to the successful bidders shortly for starting Port based Industries.
As a part of world’s largest evacuation mission by Indian Navy to repatriate the stranded Indian Nationals abroad, ‘Samudra Setu’ – (meaning ‘Sea Bridge’) under the ‘Vande Bharat’ Mission, was carried out through V.O. Chidambaranar Port on four occasions.
Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Mrs Aishath Nahula, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of Maldives, Republic of Maldives, jointly launched the Cargo ferry service from India (Tuticorin and Cochin) to Maldives (Kulhudhuffushi and Male) through Video Conference on 21 September 2020.
On 27 October 2020, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya inaugurated the ‘Direct Port Entry Facility’ at V.O. Chidambaranar Port. The Direct Port Entry facility operated by Central Warehousing Corporation at Port’s Truck Parking Terminal would enable direct movement of containers from factories, without intermediate handling at any CFS, thus facilitating the shippers to Gate-in their factory stuffed exports directly to the Container Terminal on 24×7 basis.
On 25 February 2021, Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, dedicated the ‘8-laning of Korampallam Bridge and Rail Over Bridge’ to the Nation and laid the foundation stone for ‘5 MW Ground-Based Solar Power Plant’, at VOC Port, Tuticorin, through Video Conferencing from Coimbatore.
In addition to the above, VOC Port facilitated sign-on/off of 2548 seafarers up to 31.03.2021 during pandemic, as per SOPs/guidelines issued by Director General Shipping.
PREVENTIVE MEASURE TAKEN TO CONTAIN THE SPREAD OF COVID INFECTION
(i) Vaccination drive is being carried out to vaccinate the employees of the Port, their family members and retired employees with the co-ordination of District Administration.
(ii) Regular screening of employees and residents of Port Quarters are being done to identify the COVID victims.
(iii) Periodical sanitization of Port infrastructure is being carried out to as per the sanitization schedule.
(iv) The Port Provides Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Kits for use of employees of the Port.
(v) The Port imparts awareness to prevent COVID-19 through distribution of Hand bills, distribution of COVID -19 Manual, fixing of visuals at vulnerable points and through electronic means.
(vi) Port has established quarantine facility at various Port buildings at a cost of Rs.20 lakhs.
(vii) As a part of CSR activity, Port has established additional 54 bedded COVID-19 ward at a cost of Rs.25 lakhs.
Commenting on the performance, Shri T.K. Ramachandran, IAS, Chairman, V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust, said “Given the challenging environment due to the rippling economic effects caused by COVID, I take this opportunity to thank all the employees, Unions, Terminal operators, Port users and stakeholders for their unstinted service & support rendered to the Maritime Trade.”