Visakhapatnam: Covid-19 lockdown has severely hit cargo traffic at the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) in the first quarter of the current fiscal. VPT witnessed a drop of 10 percent in cargo handling hit cargo traffic at the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) in the first quarter of the current fiscal. VPT witnessed a drop of 10 percent in cargo handling in the first quarter compared to the corresponding period last fiscal.

Port handled153.27 lakh tonnes (15.33 million tonnes) of cargo in the first quarter of the current fiscal compared to 170.95 lakh tonnes (17.10 million tonnes) in the corresponding period of 2019-20.

The exports increased to 64.45 lakh tonnes compared to 55.17 lakh tonnes in the previous year, registering a growth of 17 percent. The imports dropped to 85.39 lakh tonnes compared to 116.04 lakh tonnes the previous year, registering a fall of 26 percent.

The main cargo commodities include crude and petroleum products, iron ore, thermal coal, coking coal, steam coal, fertilizers, raw material, container cargo, and others.

Import of coking and steam coal registered a drop of 43 percent and 49 percent respectively. Port Railways recorded growth by handling 71.00 lakh tonnes against 70.54 lakh tonnes last year. Meanwhile, the VPT authorities have set the March 2021 deadline for completing extension work of the existing container terminal.

The creation of additional oil handling facilities in the inner harbor is also going on at an estimated cost of Rs.168 crores. It will ensure an additional handling capacity of 5.25 million tonnes.  It is also planning to handle container vessels (10,000-12,000 TEU capacity) from September 2020.

The process has been started for the installation of mechanized cargo handling facilities at the WQ-7 and WQ-8 berths for handling coal and other dry bulk cargos, and EQ-7 for fertilizer and other clean cargo.

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