Outer Harbor project @ Tuticorin Port

The V O Chidambaranar Port in Tuticorin is poised to make a huge leap in handling cargo with the proposed establishment of outer harbor at a cost of Rs.23,431 crore. Union finance minister Arun Jaitley announced in the Budget that Rs.11,635 crore would be sanctioned for the first phase of outer harbor project (OHP) this year.VOC port handles 33.3 million tonnes of cargo every year. Port authorities say that once the project is completed in four phases over 20 years, the port will handle 328 million tonnes of cargo. By the time the first phase is completed, adding five berths, the port would have crossed the 100 million tonne mark. In all, 17 new berths would be built in the OHP . “The outer harbour project will have a cascading effect and accelerate industrial development in the region,“ said N Jegatheesan, president, TN Chamber of Commerce and Industry . Allied industries like transport would also grow with increased traffic in the port.
The project, expected to boost maritime commerce in southern India enabling bigger ships to berth in Tuticorin, was announced by UPA government in the last budget, but no funds were sanctioned.
“We have prepared a detailed project report and submitted it to the shipping ministry. Once we get statutory clearances, we will invite tenders,“ said S Anantha Chandra Bose, port trust chairman. The first phase would be completed n four years from the date of commencement of work and would be commissioned by 2019, he said. The project component includes dredging, construction of berths and jetties, establishment of road and railway connectivity and installation of mechanical handling equipment. The port, one of the 12 major ports in India and the second biggest in the state, was established in 1974. It started by importing coal for the Tuticorin Thermal Power Station, but over the years diversified the cargo profile to timber, petroleum products, LPG, liquid ammonia, urea and other fertilisers.
Export cargo includes granite, salt, sugar, cement, foodgrain and construction material. The port now handles about 1,500 vessels annually. An official in the port said the establishment of the outer harbour may not increase the number of vessels, but cargo handling would increase as larger vessels could be accommodated in the place of smaller ones.

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