Visakhapatnam Port Trust seeks funds for Railway network

Visakhapatnam (VSKP): Close on the heels of the union cabinet’s decision to form a special purpose vehicle for port-related railway projects, the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) has submitted a proposal seeking funds for improving the port’s internal railway connectivity.

According to senior officials, the Centre has allocated Rs 400 crore for the SPV on upgradation of railway networks in ports. The VPT has taken the lead by submitting the proposal. Eleven other major ports in the country are yet to submit their proposals for the central funds.

VPT chairman MT Krishna Babu told that the port had submitted a proposal for Rs 75 crore for improving connectivity between the port and the main railway line. He said the proposal includes a third railway line from the R&D yard to the marshalling yard. The existing two railway lines have become congested due to heavy cargo traffic.

At the same time, Krishna Babu said that VPT has submitted a proposal to improve connectivity by ensuring that railway rakes going to western sector from the ore exchange complex need not come to the R&D yard, thereby reducing the overall handling time of the rakes.

The port also aims at reducing its turnaround time from an average of eight hours to two-and-half hours. The railway network in the VPT is the largest among all ports in the country. According to VPT, the rail network at the Port has two systems including the iron ore system for mechanical tippling and general system (other than iron ore) for handling food grains, fertilizers, thermal coal, steel products, coking coal, iron ore (manual unloading) and other mineral ores, POL products. It has a network of over 200 km railway lines and 30 railway sidings.

The port witnessed a drop of 0.85% in cargo traffic during 2014-15. It had handled 58 million tonnes in 2014-15, as against 58.5 million tonnes in 2013-14.