Visakhapatnam Port is in the process of raising its cargo handling capacity to to 139.67 million tonne (mn t) by 2016-17 and 148.67 mn t by 2019-20 with an investment of nearly Rs 14,000 crore on mechanisation or modernisation.
The port currently has a capacity of 66 mn t. It is expected to handle 60 mn t cargo in 2012-13 as against the target of 70 mn t set by the shipping ministry and the projected throughput is 64 mn t.
It is learnt that currently, the port faces a shortfall of 4 mt iron ore, which is mainly attributed to recession in domestic steel industry and fall in imports by China.
Loss of transhipment cargo led to snatching away of its premier port status by Kandla Port in 2007-08. Apart from slowdown in cargo handling due to the ongoing mechanisation works, Visakhapatnam Port lost iron ore and transhipment cargo significantly. The installation of two single buoy moorings at Paradip has led to diversion of more transshipment cargo. It is estimated that Visakhapatnam Port lost 2.5 million tonne port of loading (POL) to Paradip.
Latest data from Indian Ports Association (IPA) shows that Kandla Port handled 78.15 mn t so far in 2012-13 followed by Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) 53.76, Visakhapatnam 49.15, Mumbai 48.52, Paradip 46.61, Chennai 44.33, Kolkata (including Haldia Dock) 32.40 and New Mangalore 30.49 mn t.
Owing to cut in production by Visakh Refinery (HPCL) due to pollution problem, there was shortfall of 1 mn t import cargo. Increasing prices led to falling demand of fertilizer and a loss of 1 mt for the port.