The Crucial Connect!
A comprehensive report on the strengthening of Chennai Port's rail link to the container terminals and its benefits
Chennai Port is strengthening its rail link to the container terminals. This is likely to ensure faster movement of the export containers for loading and evacuation of import containers from the port.
Partha Pratim Basistha reports. There were reports in recent past of Exim containers piling up at Chennai Port. The piling up resulted in vessel lines imposing demurrage charges on the exporters. There has been a recurrence of such incidents. The primary reason for piling up of the containers is attributed due to tardy evacuation of the containers from the port’s two container terminals being operated by private operators. To prevent a recurrence of the incident, Chennai Port is planning to upgrade the rail link connecting the port and the container terminals. The new rail link will connect the mainline link of Southern Railways.
According to top Chennai Port officials, the railways will lay two more lines adjacent to the existing track connecting the port. Land has already been provided to the Southern Railways and work is likely to commence soon. Both the terminals will benefit from the new link as it will facilitate movement of export containers in enhanced volumes from various cargo clusters using the port for cargo shipment. The most important beneficiary will be Whitefield Inland Container Depot of Bengaluru. Chennai apparel exporters will also gain from the upcoming link, as it will ensure faster evacuation of import containers.
Chennai Port has two container terminals. The first one is operated by Chennai Container Terminal Private limited (CCTPL), a fully owned subsidiary of Dubai Ports World and the second one is Chennai International Terminal Private Limited (CITPL), owned by the Port Authority of Singapore. The CCTPL terminal has a 885 metre long container berth, while 820 metres is the berth size of the CITPL operated terminal. CITPL has a rail head siding adjacent to the berth. The new link will benefit both the terminals.
The new rail link is essential for the Chennai Apparel Cluster for moving the Exim containers through the port. This is more so owing to the importance of the apparel cluster which is predominantly an export centric one. Chennai cluster contributes above R2500 crores as the annual turnover to the Indian garment industry. Nearly 100 exporters manage to turn in above
R2000 crores of business per year, accounting to 80 per cent of the cluster’s turnover.