Krishnapatnam Port, the all-weather, deep-water private port in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, is aiming high, looking to match global ports in terms of infrastructure and ensure docking of 18,000-TEU container ships which are revolutionising maritime cargo transportation. With the potential to become an alternative to Colombo port which has poached on India’s maritime traffic — 35% of the container throughput of over 5.5 m TEUs that the Colombo port logged in 2016 was transshipment cargo to India — it is fast becoming a port of call for international cargo originating from and bound for southern and central India. Krishnapatnam has a lot to offer to shippers in terms of its advantages: a transit storage area of 6,800 acres, a waterfront area of 161 sq. km — the largest among India’s ports — and a draft of 18.5 m that can accommodate cape-size vessels of 200,000-tonne capacity.
It is also the only port to implement a single-window system for business facilitation. Promoted by the Hyderabad-based CVR Group with an investment of over Rs 8,000 crore, the Krishnapatnam Port Company Ltd (KPCL) won the mandate to run the port from the government of Andhra Pradesh on a BOST (Build-Operate-Share-Transfer) concession basis for 50 years. Of its three-phase growth roadmap, the second phase of expansion is presently underway — the master plan envisages its capacity being raised to 200 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) from the present 70 MTPA.
“We are the only port in the country that already has the Super Post Panamax quay cranes (22 rows across, twin lift, 65-tonne capacity) in place. Additionally, we are planning to increase the draft and create business for gigantic ships, becoming their first port of call in the country,” Krishnapatnam Port Managing Director Chinta Sasidhar tells FE.
“At the Krishnapatnam Port Container Terminal (KPCT), shipping lines enjoy services of international standards, that too at a reasonable cost. This resulted in a stellar growth rate of 115% for the terminal in 2016-17,” he says. To encourage transshipment, KPCT would provide a dedicated coastal berth in the northern part of the present terminal. This would bring operational efficiencies to the coastal cargo feeder vessels.
“We are going at full-throttle for the digitisation of the container supply chain that will facilitate gigantic ships calling on our port,” he says. Although iron ore constituted the bulk of its cargo when the port began operations in 2008, coal has become its main source of revenue in recent years. The other bulk commodities handled include edible oil, fertilisers, granite and minerals.
“A major portion of the coal, which makes up nearly 70% of our cargo volumes, goes to four power plants in the primary hinterland. We are promoting port-based industries like thermal plants and edible oil refineries on the huge land bank available near the port. Krishnapatnam Infratech Ltd, a group company, is developing a multi-product industrial park over 4,700 acres. This is likely to attract players from the LNG, refining, and pharmaceutical sectors, ensuring for us captive cargo in the future,” he explains.
Krishnapatnam’s strategic location and facilities that offer cost and transit time advantages makes it the best bet for importers and exporters in the region. “The upcoming CBIC (Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor) and VCIC (Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor) corridors present huge opportunities for us. This makes it necessary for our expansion projects to be implemented on time though the way things are moving at present, we are confident,” he says.