VISAKHAPATNAM: The dedicated freight corridor (DFC), which is expected to be functional by the end of the decade, will turn the tide in favour of business on the east coast, said Dhruv Kotak, managing director, J M Baxi and Co, which is one of the partners of the Visakha Container Terminal Pvt Ltd.
“I don’t see the logic of going to the west coast to service northern parts of the country once the corridor is set up. This area will become a gateway for a lot of inland transactions,” he said while participating in the East Coast Maritime Business Summit. While stressing on the huge savings in time and cost that the DFC will bring, he said the central government needs to relax sabotage rules and encourage containerisation on the east coast.
While mentioning that Vallarpadam terminal in Kerala has been designated as a transshipment container hub, he said the government has failed to see that the true transshipment hub is Vizag, which far exceeds Vallarpadam. He said making Vizag a transshipment hub would result in business flourishing at both Chennai and Kolkata ports.Highlighting the areas of concerns for the maritime industry, he said the lack of warehousing has to be taken into consideration immediately. “Each of the stakeholders needs to take up the issue as our sister ports (Haldia, Kolkata, Chennai and Paradip) are feeding Singapore and Colombo, when Vizag is the closest port in the area.”
At a time when the government is harping on saving the foreign exchange, he said, the country will be able to save nearly $0.5 billion by way of foreign exchange if Vizag is promoted as a transshipment hub.Meanwhile, pointing out that the Container Corporation of India (Concor) is developing a Container Freight Station spread on 10 acres in the Port City, its chairman-cum-managing director Anil K Gupta said that ultimately they want to set up a logistics park in Vizag.Gupta said that Concor is planning to develop three CFS facilities in the state, including the one in Vizag that will be operational by December.
In addition to this, four terminals will be set up in the neighbouring state of Odisha. “We have 15 new terminals on the drawing board for the present five-year plan and nine of these are in advanced stages,” he said. Mentioning that Concor is focussing on the east coast, he said that low containerisation and very low penetration of containers is a major hurdle for businesses. Speaking on the occasion, principal secretary to commerce and industries department, Pradeep K Chandra, said the state government has identified 50 acres of land for setting up a transport logistics hub at Venkatachalam on NH-5 to serve the needs of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) at Naidupeta, Krishnapatnam, Sri City and National Investment and Manufacturing Zone in Chittoor.
At a time when agitations have put a question mark on investments in the state, he said industries are continuing to make investments in the state. “Shifting an industry is not like changing a house. Industries have taken investment decisions after seeing all the possibilities,” he said, adding that the state is ideal for servicing southern and northern parts of the country.