Essar Vizag Terminal Ltd (EVTL) has recently installed and commissioned a new 8000 tonnes per hour bulk ship loader as part of a major investment programme to upgrade the Indian facility’s iron ore handling capabilities. EVTL’s capacity will rise from 12 million to 23 million tonnes a year as a result of the investments being made by the privately owned Indian port operator, Essar Ports.
The terminal was shut down for a week in December to enable the existing 42-year-old loader to be dismantled and for the new loader to be commissioned in its place. At the same time, other items of cargo handling equipment were installed, including a new reclaimer and a mechanical conveyor system. Once all of the new equipment is fully operational, EVTL expects to achieve a cargo handling rate of 120,000 tonnes per day, leading to shorter vessel turnaround times and more competitive freight costs for exporters on India’s east coast.
EVTL took over the Vizag Port expansion project in May 2015 on a Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Transfer (DBFOT) basis, for a period of 30 years. Since then, the company has ramped up the iron ore loading capacity of the terminal from 25,000 to 70,000 tonnes a day. After the completion of the modernisation project, not only will the loading capacity increase further to 120,000 tonnes a day, but the facility will also be able to berth vessels up to 200,000 dwt, with a draft of 18 m, within the outer harbour.
Essar Ports is one of the largest private sector port companies in India in terms of capacity and throughput. It has four operational terminals in India, in Hazira and Salaya on the west coast, and in Visakhapatnam and Paradip on the east coast. The operational capacity of the group’s terminals in India is 82 million tonnes annually at the moment. This is expected to increase to 110 million tonnes by the end of the 2017-18 financial year.