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An Indian first

08 Jun 2011
ICTSI has struck an unusual deal in India. Credit: Ronaldo Lazzari

ICTSI has struck an unusual deal in India. Credit: Ronaldo Lazzari

International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) has entered the burgeoning Indian container market in an innovative way.

The company has forged a deal with L&T Shipbuilding Ltd (LTSB) for the management and operation of the Kattupalli International Container Terminal (KICT) in Tamil Nadu, India for a 28 year period – a term that is exceptionally long for this type of arrangement and which undoubtedly represents something of a first in the industry.

The terminal is located near Chennai in Thiruvallur District, a region with a history of rapid container growth.

KICT enters the market at a time of unparalleled growth in the nearby port of Chennai. The port handled 1.52m teu in 2010-11 compared with 1.26m teu the previous year, a 25% increase and the largest growth rate among the top three containerports comprising JNPT, Chennai and Tuticorin.

The previous five years had seen Chennai register annual traffic increases in the order of 13%-14%. Average annual container growth in Indian ports is in the order of 8%.

The KICT development is also interesting in that it aims to capitalise on some strong competitive assets and notably a less rigid system of port charges as well as 24 hour access on the landside, a facility not available in Chennai where access to terminals is only possible after midnight to early morning due to road congestion problems.

The road system access is not ideal at present but clearly with scheduled upgrades it will improve progressively and as such represents “joined up thinking” that has not always been seen in other terminal developments.

The new terminal, now in the final phases of construction, will possess two 350m berths and back-up area of around 20 hectares in the phase one development offering an annual capacity of 1.2m teu. A second phase development envisages annual capacity being raised to 1.8m teu/yr.

Six ZPMC super-post-panamax, twin-lift, gantries are to be installed and 15 Noell one over five, 6+1 width RTGs supported by a state-of the-art terminal management system. All the equipment is of a higher end specification.

Mobile equipment will include two reachstackers and one empty handler. The yard will offer 5000 ground slots and a CFS is also planned as part of the service package.

Access to the terminal on the marine side is via a 3.5km long channel and port basin offering a draft of 14m – the draft capability is such that it provides for projected increases in southern Asian container trade. It also provides for the future possibility of mainline Asia-Europe vessels making a stop in southern India which has been mooted as a distinct possibility by certain analysts.

Kattupalli’s North and South breakwaters, which together total 3.35 kilometres, ensure a safe harbour and uninterrupted terminal operations. In terms of cargo generation, the terminal is located in close proximity to the majority of Container Freight Stations in Chennai.

Also notable about the Kattupalli development, which includes a shipyard being developed by Larsen & Toubro, is that it is a wholly private sector backed development – all key aspects – and it is one that has, more or less, proceeded according to the schedule originally set.

As such, it is a model that promises to be used more widely in Indian port development.

Images for this article - click to enlarge

ICTSI has struck an unusual deal in India. Credit: Ronaldo Lazzari

Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright © Mercator Media 2014. This does not exclude the owner's assertion of copyright over the material.

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