Krishnapatnam: The deep water Krishnapatnam port on the east coast in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh (AP) has emerged as the single largest contributor to the freight earnings of South Central Railway (SCR) in the previous couple of years.
In 2014-15, the private sector port accounted for as much as 23% of the total freight earnings of SCR that stood at INR 9,398 crore.
SCR general manager, Pradeep Kumar Srivastava said that “The freight loading by rail from Krishnapatnam port has shown a dramatic increase in the past five years from 5 million tonnes (mt) in 2010-11 to 20.92 mt in 2014-15.”
The port, whose hinterland includes parts of AP, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, is linked to the Chennai-Delhi route through a 19 kilometer (km) railway line. As of 2014, it is capable of handling 74 mt of cargo a year.
Explaining the reasons for the jump in freight loading, Srivastava said the SCR had doubled and electrified the railway line to the port , which increased the rail connectivity. Besides, it had improved coordination with port authorities by posting additional man power, deputing officers and inspectors to monitor running of trains and rationalisation of train movement.
This apart, he said, import of iron ore from steel manufacturing companies contributed to the freight business. Among other companies, Jindal Steel of Bellary in Karnataka , Tata Steel Limited and Sunflag Iron & Steel Company Limited of Nagpur are the major importers of iron ore from southeast Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand through the port.
The SCR is currently transporting 18 rakes of cargo a day from Krishnapatnam port. On other hand, the cargo offtake from Kakinada port, the other major port in the SCR zone, ranged from 4-6 rakes a day.
Besides iron ore, the major commodities being handled by the SCR at the two ports include cement, coal, food grains and fertilisers. Of late, granite blocks from Karimnagar in Telangana were also being exported from the port, mostly to China. Srivastava said freight movement from Krishnapatnam would further increase as finished goods were being exported from the port.
“We have also operated 11,000 extra coaches last year during festival season and on other special occasions leading to transportation of an additional 500,000 passengers,” Srivastava said, adding this provided an additional income of INR 25 crore to the SCR.