Chennai, Dec 22: Chennai Port Trust (CPT) plans to invite bids from local and international firms for operation and maintenance of the container berth being expanded on the northern side of the port.
The port has at present a 600 meter container berth but this is being expanded by another 295 meters to facilitate faster movement of containerised cargo. Civil works on the expansion of the container berth is now going on. For its operation and maintenance the port authorities expect to call for BOT (build, operate and transfer) bids soon, official sources said.
Besides the expansion of the container berth at a cost of Rs 52 crore, CPT is also pursuing other modernisation and expansion of south quay and east quay at a cost of Rs 100 crore. All these development plans are designed to make the port handle increased volume of traffic in the coming years, official sources said.
The port has witnessed a growth in volume of both containerised and general cargo handled during the last nine months. Between April 1 and December 21, 1999 the port accounted for a total cargo movement of 26.64 million tonnes, up by about eight per cent compared with the same period last year.
Containerised cargo handled during the same period increased to 2.31 lakh TEUs, up by about 14 per cent compared to that of TEUs handled in the same period in the previous year.
Officials say they are quite optimistic of achieving the target of 36.5 million tonnes of total cargo movement and 3.2 lakh TEUs of containerised cargo aimed at for the current year.
The growth in volumes is attributed to the increased handling of about 10 million tonnes of coal and increasing export trend witnessed in cobble stones and granites, officials said.
Also the CPT it is said saw trouble-free working during the last nine months with the trade unions and shipping agencies cooperating with increased demand made on them for moving higher volumes of cargo. There is no congestion in the port now, it is said.
The port has decided to set up a separate control room to monitor year end changes and to sort out any contingency that may arise out of Y2K issue.
Officials claim that the port is now Y2K compliant but do not want to take any chances and hence the move to set up the control room which will be fully working from December 29 to January 2, 2000. Also port authorities have taken a decision to work on January 1 and 2 so that problems arising if any can be immediately tackled. The port has computerised its payroll systems, billing and financial accounting and has upgraded chips providing for calendar-linkage on real time.
Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.