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No coronavirus impact on Vizag port

Tuesday, 03 March 2020 | 00:00

At a time when coronavirus is playing havoc in markets the world over, the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) is all set to achieve the highest-ever cargo handling of 72 million metric tonne (MMT) by March-end.

Though the cargo movement from China was disrupted due to coronavirus outbreak, there was not much of an impact on Visakhapatnam port. The port improved its overall performance this year, surpassing its last year’s performance by February 22, 38 days before the current fiscal year comes to an end. Speaking to TNIE on Sunday, VPT deputy chairperson PL Harnadh said the port is most likely to achieve 72 MMT and it will be the best ever cargo handling by the port. It is four MMT more than the highest-ever cargo handling of 68 MMT achieved in 2011. This despite the competition givben to it by Gangavaram port, which is now handling more than 35 MMT of cargo.

Haranadh said port operations were severely affected in China and the world economy has suffered a loss close to `350 lakh crore. “However, we were not affected due to continuous cargo supply from Indonesia, South Africa, and Australia and oil from Italy. We are able to maintain the operations target and we are still growing,” he said. The port is cruising to achieve 12.8 per cent growth, Haranadh said.

“Our marketing efforts and business development initiatives in the past two to three years have panned out well. The initiatives are now yielding results. He said improving railway wagons evacuation, completion of projects aimed at increasing capacity, MoU signed with major organisations and providing equipment for higher productivity also helped in improving the VPT’s performance,” he pointed out.

The port has taken strict checking of cargo ships coming from notified corona-affected countries such as South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and China. “Vessels from these nations are allowed to anchor at the port only after the mandatory 15-day quarantine period. Even after the completion of quarantine period, the master of the vessel concerned should give a declaration that none of the crew is sick. If there is any sick person among the crew, the ship will not be allowed to anchor at the port, it will be sent back. He said they were following the strict procedures laid down by the Centre.

The deputy chairperson said once the vessel is berthed after declaration by the master of the vessel, port health official equipped with full protective gear will visit the ship. “The official will screen the crew with the help of thermal guns and if he found there was any sick person aboard, the ship will be sent back. No crew member of cargo ships from affected-countries is allowed to disembark or visit city,” he pointed out.
Source: The New Indian Express

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