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Visakha Container Terminal set to become regional trans-shipment hub on east coast

Saturday, 28 September 2019 | 00:00

Container lines Hapag Lloyd, ONE, YML, COSCO and OOCL will jointly run a new direct service from Visakha Container Terminal (VCT), the privately-run facility at State-owned Visakhapatnam Port Trust, to the Mediterranean and Europe, which will also bring connectivity with Africa and the America.

The announcement strengthens Visakha Container Terminal’s rising stature as a regional container transshipment hub on the east coast, said shipping industry sources. “The commercial benefits offered by Visakhapatanam Port Trust makes the terminal even more attractive in the long run by being the gateway to the East for both northern and southern regions extending right up to Bangladesh and even Myanmar,” the terminal operator said.

The terminal, majority owned by International Cargo Terminals & Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, is located centrally and strategically on the East Coast of India between Kolkata and Chennai.

The facility handled over 0.45 million TEUs during FY19 and is on the verge of crossing the 0.5-million TEUs in FY20, aided by a 16 pre cent growth in traffic, complemented rail movement and also transshipment.

The transshipment volumes at VCT grew by a whopping 148 per cent in FY19 over FY18. With the continuous growth in transshipment volumes and with the patronage from various lines such as RCL, WHL, Evergreen Shipping, Samudera, Global Feeders and Non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs), the growth rate between April and August in FY20, compared to FY 19, was 188 per cent and is expected to rise further — with increased participation from other lines which are actively exploring VCT as a port of call.

Currently, VCT has three services — FME, CHX and MDM — linking the East, which feature major main line operators such as Maersk, Cosco, CMA-APL, Wan Hai, RCL, KMTC, TSL and feeder service providers such as Feeder Tech and BTL that cater to volumes towards South-East Asia and the Far East.

Evergreen and Global Feeders operate the CCG service to the Arabian Gulf, while Far Shipping connects VCT to Colombo. In terms of connectivity for Indian coastal services, Shreyas and Samudera link VCT to Kolkata and Haldia.

“VCT has the capability to handle large volumes of container transshipment traffic as compared to all the other ports on the East Coast because of its locational advantages, depth of 16.5 metres, weekly main line and feeder service calls,” the operator said.

VCT started operations from June 2003 with only feeder vessels that plied between Vizag, Singapore and Colombo while the local volumes at the terminal grew at a steady pace.

“The transshipment volumes commenced with the main line services that started calling the terminal, thereby providing the much-sought after global connectivity from Visakhapatnam. VCT, thus became the local transshipment hub primarily catering to Kolkata which is a riverine port and Paradip port,” the operator added.
Source: The Hindu Business Line

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