Chairman of Visakhapatnam Port Authority, M Angamuthu, says that three more public-private partnership (PPP) projects will be awarded by the end of next year, and by 2025, the number of private berths in the port will likely rise to 20. While talking to Shantanu Nandan Sharma, Angamuthu also exudes confidence that Visakhapatnam will be a 100% landlord port by 2030 when private companies will undertake all day-to-day operations. Edited excerpts of the interview:
How is the progress of implementation of the landlord port model in your Visakhapatnam port?
Visakhapatnam Port Authority (VPA) is progressing rapidly from service model to landlord port model. Currently, there are six Public-Private Partnership or PPP (including Build-Operate-Transfer) terminals operating in eight berths in the port, which are contributing about 60% of the total throughput handled at the port. In addition, three new projects have been awarded recently at an estimated project cost of about ?700 crore, which would further augment the capacity of handling by another 15 MMTPA (Million Metric Tonnes Per Annum) by the end of 2025. The VPA has also undertaken another three PPP projects which are in the process of finalisation, and are likely to be awarded by the end of 2024. These are likely to be operational by 2027. In the next five years, the VPA is likely to handle about 75% of the total throughput through PPP terminals and by the end of 2030, the VPA is likely to inch towards 100% handling through PPP terminals in addition to captive cargo from PSUs and captive customers. This will make the VPA transform into a landlord model port by the end of 2030 by operating through PPP terminals and captive cargo terminals.
As part of Maritime India Vision 2030, all major ports will be converted into landlord ports to encourage private sector participation by leasing existing assets. In tune with the guidelines, in 2023, the port awarded four more berths on PPP and another berth is now in the tendering stage. With this there will be 12 private berths in the port. The port has made plans to offer two berths under captive policy in the next two years and another six berths will be offered to private players. As such, by the end of 2025, the number of private berths should rise to 20.
Is there any expansion plan for your port?
As part of Amrit Kaal Vision 2047, the port has the following plans —
- Cargo transportation through pipe conveyors – to SAIL/NMDC plants
- Break bulk and bagged cargo loading and unloading to/from vessel through chutes
- Robotic arm for loading, unloading cargo
- Widening and deepening of channel from 110 mts to 150 mts and turning circle from 14.5 mts to 20 m
- Inking MOU with HPCL VIZAG for green hydrogen plant.
- Shore power supply at all berths
- Automation of mooring
- Hybrid battery operated tug-acquiring battery operated green tug with HSL VIZAG with an investment of ?80 crore
- Construction of additional covered sheds
- Another 10 MW solar power plant
- Utilisation of the land in Lankelapalem and Mulakuddu (Bhimili)
How are you balancing both the groups, the old (under 2008 guidelines) and the new (2021 policy) concessionaires?
All the existing PPP projects under operations at VPA are finalised under MCA 2008 guidelines. It is a fact that there are a few issues that surfaced after the agreements were signed. However, such issues have been addressed from time to time by the Shipping Ministry as well as by major ports. The stressed concept was introduced to rationalise the storage charges, license fee for land allotted are reduced by implementing only the annual escalation factor, and also, additional lands on the request of the PPP operators were allotted as and when it’s required for an increased throughput. The migration of the existing PPP terminals governed under tariff guidelines of 2005, 2008, 2013 and 2019 for adoption of market determined tariff pursuant to MPA Act 2021 is also under examination at the level of our Ministry. That will make the present operational concessionaires to fix market-driven tariffs. It is a fact that projects finalised under MCA 2021 guidelines do have some in-built advantages in the concession agreement, in terms of land lease rentals, market driven tariff, stressed concept, etc. However, both the Ministry and the VPA are making all efforts time and again to address all pending issues so as to ensure that the present PPP operators stand in even lines with the new PPP projects.
Isn’t your port facing tough competition from the nearby private port, Gangavaram, where Adani Ports & SEZ has recently bought a controlling stake?
The VPA doesn’t consider any other port as its competitor. The VPA has been gauging its own performance and improving its productivity, working methods, cargo handling, evacuation and storage infrastructure, offering best-in-class services at optimal cost to its clients and reducing its non-core activities.
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