VOCPT Port gets nod for ₹5,720-cr expansion

    port
    An expert appraisal committee has given environment and coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearances to the government controlled V O Chidambaranar Port Trust (VOCPT) to expand its capacity entailing an investment of ₹5,720 crore. The expansion of the inner harbor of VOCPT - one of the biggest undertaken at a major port - includes deepening the harbour basin and approach channel to handle ships with a draft of 15.2 metres, widening the port’s entrance, and building six new berths besides upgrading the existing ones. Deepening the approach channel and harbour basin will help VOCPT to dock very large container ships with a capacity to carry as much as 14,000 20-ft equivalent units or TEUs, as the shipping ministry looks to position the eastern coast port to compete with Colombo for transhipment after the cabotage restriction lifted last year. Geographically, VOCPT is best suited to compete with Colombo for transhipment of containers, but it needs better infrastructure and draft to allow bigger mainline ships to dock. The shipping ministry said that easing of cabotage rules allowed foreign-flagged container ships to carry export-import (EXIM) laden containers for transhipment and empty containers for re-positioning on local routes.
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