Our team at Visakha Container Terminal handled over 0.45 million TEU during the financial year 2018/19.
They also achieved the highest exchange on a vessel, the most gate moves in a shift and the most ship moves per hour, and it dealt with out-of-gauge cargo efficiently. It was indeed overwhelming.
At VCT, we believe in putting our customers first, so while we always strive to improve our assets and technology to achieve higher efficiency and productivity, our most important effort has been to reach out to our customers to understand and meet their expectations.
As volumes at VCT are growing year on year, the utilisation of the facility is also reaching the maximum possible and the time has quickly arrived for us to expand the terminal. Moreover, the size of the vessels arriving at the port city, Visakhapatnam, will increase from 6,500 TEUs to 8,500 TEUs in the next 3–5 years and then to 15,000 TEUs eventually. Thus, to tackle these larger vessels, we need to enhance the equipment, extend the length of the quay, and develop new operational strategies. This extension of the existing contain er terminal will be known as VCT II.
VCT II will have three super postPanamax cranes, nine eco-friendly rubber-tyre gantry cranes, five reach stackers and 24 tractor trailers geared to handle big ships. The terminal will have a 395-m-long quay and a back-up area for container storage and handling. It will be built on a BOT basis and the work order for extending the terminal was given to VCT by Visakhapatnam Port Trust on 2 March 2019. The new terminal will be commissioned within 2 years. The berth will be constructed in phases. The first 100 m of the quay will be ready in 6 months after commencing the construction of the berth and each additional 100 m will be added at intervals of 6 months. This will enable larger vessels to berth at VCT well before the entire project is completed. The entire 395 m of quay will be available for use by 2021.
The major driving factors for the increasing local volumes of 18–20 per cent per year include: companies expanding, increases in production and new industries being established. The global demand for ferroalloys has risen continuously, which has resulted in higher demands for its raw materials, manganese and chrome ores. Similarly demand for steel is growing too, increasing the need for refractory materials, scrap metals, ferronickel etc. Many of these products account for a major proportion of EXIM movements through VCT, which is expected to surge in the next 5 years. Not to forget, the pharma industries at the City of Destiny have driven growth as high as 50 per cent for chemical imports and pharma exports. The presence of Andhra Pradesh Medtech Zone is yet impetus in the export of medical equipment.
The other two driving factors – ICD (rail-bound) and trans-shipment – are vital to the growth of overall volumes. VCT II will have a major part in handling the envisaged growth. With this extension of the container terminal, the annual throughput of VCT will be 1.5 million TEU and it will have one of the longest quays in the country. The natural draft is 16.5 m, which can accommodate vessels of over 15,000 TEU in capacity.
The container freight station at Visakha Container Terminal is on 34 acres. It is only 12 km from the container terminal and connected to it with a four-lane road that bypasses the industrial areas. It is a work environment that is a class apart in the industry. The site has been thoroughly tested with a 3000+ TEU of laden throughput.
VCT CFS uses advanced technology, the first to do so in Visakhapatnam. The CFS has an integrated office block, so that customs agents, customers and CFS personnel are all under one roof. The fully computerised gate complex, which provides operational flexibility along with a flexible multi-traffic flow, is unique as well. The intelligent layout, too, complements the operational flow and safety of people working in the facility. VCT CFS has two enclosed warehouses of 3000 m2 and 2000 m2 and one open warehouse to meet the requirements for specific types of cargo. The emptying and stowage of cargo is done by skilled workers, who prepare the goods for onward transportation. The inventory stored at the warehouse is extremely secure, as the CFS works 24 × 7 round the clock and there is sufficient surveillance, as it is a customs-bonded area.
VCT CFS is versatile and can handle a wide variety of cargoes. Being a unique facility with customised equipment, the CFS can fulfil the needs of many customers with their dynamic requirements. Bulk cargoes – in different forms and across various lanes – are containerised rapidly. Using its expertise and specialised equipment, VCT CFS can tackle manganese ore and chrome ore using trailer tilters, OOG cargo, rice using conveyor belts, newsprint using grabs and so on. Moreover, VCT CFS can deal with lightweight cargoes in 40’ high cube containers, such as cotton, chillies and coir fibre.