Better connectivity to ports is vital for growth: Vasan
Stressing that better connectivity (of roads and rail) to ports is of paramount importance to enhance productivity and efficiency, Union Minister of Shipping G. K. Vasan has said that it should be given due importance in all ports of the country.
Addressing a gathering after flagging off the new Railway Siding facility to provide a seamless traffic flow on both directions, at Ennore Port on Jan. 6, he stated: “Connectivity to ports is to be given adequate attention not only in Ennore Port but also in all other ports of the country.”
Mr. Vasan added: “The Railway Siding infrastructure set up at a cost of Rs. 51.60 crores would enable the coal and iron ore stack yards at Ennore Port to be connected with the southern and northern mainlines of Indian Railways and therefore provide a major boost for Ennore Port as well as BOT (Build, Operate, Transfer) operators.”
“The new railway siding facility will minimise the time consumed for shunting, leading to more rake movements and faster evacuation of cargo,” he noted.
Elaborating about the strong emergence of Ennore Port over the years, which was primarily conceived as a satellite port, the Minister observed: “As part of perspective expansion plan, Ennore Port during the 12th Plan period (2012-17), is going to add substantial capacity through projects like 5 MTPA LNG Terminal, 16 MTPA Container Terminal, 2 MTPA Multi-cargo Terminal-2 and 9 MTPA Additional Coal Berth No.3 for TANGEDCO.”
“With the development of these terminals Ennore Port capacity will be more than double from the present 30 MTPA to about 67 MTPA by the end of 12th Plan,” he declared.
“For substantial improvement in its connectivity to evacuate the anticipated increase in cargo, rail connectivity projects like new broad gauge rail link between Attipattu and Thiruvallur / Avadi using the rail corridor identified in the Outer Ring Road (ORR) project of the State Government and a proposed Northern Rail Link taking off from the northern side of Minjur Station to enter into Ennore Port, etc., are being explored,” Mr. Vasan further added.
Earlier, Mr. M. A. Bhaskarachar, CMD, EPL, welcomed the gathering and briefed about Ennore Port and its developmental programmes planned for the future. He pointed out that on Dec. 25 last year the five rail lines of Holding Yard – II were successfully linked with the NCTPS main line which connects the Indian Railway mainlines. This linkage will be a major boost for the port as the time consumed for shunting will be minimised and hence more rakes movements can be operationalised.
Mr. Bhaskarachar also explained that, with the commissioning of this full track civil works, about 1, 500 rakes per annum will be moved only for coal evacuation from the next financial year onwards.
In his address Mr. P. K. Mishra, Divisional Railway Manager, Southern Railway, said: “We feel happy to be associated with Major Ports like Chennai and Ennore in the region.” While congratulating the EPL management for maximum utilisation of railway mode to evacuate its cargo, he appealed to the Chennai Port Trust management to explore ways and means to increase cargo evacuation via rail rakes, which is abysmally low now.
“Besides, we look forward to meet the demand of rakes for containers and RORO from Ennore Port in future,” Mr. Mishra added.
Besides representatives from different port users and members of Ennore Port Advisory Board, Mr. Sanjay Kumar, Director (Operations), EPL; Mr. Ashok Vardhan Shetty, Vice Chancellor, Indian Maritime University; Mr. Atulya Misra, Chairman, Chennai Port Trust and Mr. P. C. Parida, Deputy Chairman, Chennai Port Trust, attended the ceremony.
EMRIP inauguration by February-end
The Rs. 600-crore Chennai-Ennore Port connectivity road, formerly Ennore-Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP), is likely to be inaugurated by February-end, according to Union Minister of Shipping G. K. Vasan.
The project, conceived more than a decade ago, is aimed at decongesting the road from Inner Ring Road-Madhavaram up to the Chennai Port Trust of container trailers as well as heavy load vehicle traffic.
Speaking to reporters after inaugurating the railway siding facility at Ennore Port, the Minister said the inauguration, which had been earlier announced as by January, would now take place by February-end.
“Till date, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had completed nearly 80 per cent of the widening work and while coming here (Ennore) I also inspected a few stretches of the road to see for myself the real progress.”