Visakhapatnam: Noting the decline in the cargo trend at Visakhapatnam port during 2020-21 due to the pandemic after a healthy upward swing between 2015-16 and 2019-20, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu expressed hope that the port would regain its growth trajectory once the situation normalizes. "It is important to note that ports will play an important role in post-COVID economic recovery," he added.

A presentation was made to the Vice-President by the chairman of the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT), K. Rama Mohana Rao, and other senior officials during an interaction with him at Visakhapatnam. They apprised the Vice-President on various activities of the port, including its expansion plans.

Mr. Naidu praised the ports for having played a proactive role in handling oxygen supplies and humanitarian relief work during the second wave of COVID-19 and cyclones Tauktae and Yaas.

Referring to the Maritime India Vision 2030, the Vice-President wanted the port to adopt global best practices in port operations and development. He said that Vision 2030 is not impossible to achieve as India has the inherent strength of knowledge and said everyone should work together in the spirit of Team India.

During the interaction, the Vice-President was keen to know the measures taken by VPT to contain pollution and protect the environment. Appreciating the port's green initiatives, he also wanted them to focus more on renewable energy and energy conservation.

He also appreciated Visakhapatnam Port Trust's initiatives in creating world-class infrastructure, port-led industrialization, digitization of processes, and various green initiatives for sustainability. "I am pleased to learn about the expansion plans of VPT in the coming years," he added.

Earlier, the Vice-President was apprised of the expansion plans of the Visakhapatnam Port, including the proposed establishment of a Rs. 406-crore Free Trade and Warehousing Zone (FTWZ) in an area of 103 acres.

The proposed FTWZ is to be funded under Sagarmala and a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be set up to develop basic infrastructures like roads, electricity, railway, and road connectivity.

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