Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, May 11, 2002
Chennai Container eyeing direct West-bound service
NEW DELHI, May 10
CHENNAI Container Terminal Ltd (CCTL), operated by P&O Ports, is looking at a West-bound direct service from Chennai to Europe and America.
``Top officials from CCTL will visit Singapore from May 21 to 24 for a marketing blitz on the benefits to shipping lines for taking a west-bound direct call from Chennai container terminal,'' Mr Jimmy Sarbh, Regional Director, South Asia and Middle East, P&O Ports Private Ltd, said. Mr Sarbh is also the Chairman and Managing Director of CCTL.
``Whichever company decides to call first will reap the benefits of operating a direct west-bound service from Chennai,'' Mr Sarbh said.
The shipping lines would be able to take all the container cargo currently being feeded out from Singapore and Colombo, he said.
CCTL had asked P&O Nedlloyd to consider putting in its big pendulum service from Chennai, he added.
CCTL is also awaiting the commencement of the weekly container service (Indfex-2) from Chennai container terminal to four ports in North China from June 16 by a consortium of shipping lines, including SCI, K Line of Japan and Dangnan of Korea and PIL of Singapore.
``That will be a big day for us. This will help us bring in main line vessels to the Chennai port much before what is required of us under the concession agreement signed with the Government for developing and running the terminal,'' Mr Sarbh said.
Indfex-2 will call at the four North China ports of Dalian, Qingdao, Xingang and Yantai besides other ports of call such as Kelang and Pasir Gudang in Malaysia as well as Singapore and Hong Kong.
As per the concession document, CCTL is required to bring in main line vessels within three years of starting operations at the container terminal.
But Mr Sarbh said that the ability to bring in main line vessels will depend upon the commitment given by the Chennai Port Trust on improving the draft at the port from the existing level of 12.5 metres to about 13.4 metres.
``They have not complied with this condition so far and we have made a written submission to the port trust regarding this,'' Mr Sarbh said.
P&O Ports also operates a container terminal at Nhava Shewa in the Jawaharlal Nehru port.
``We have handled 90,652 TEUs in April and are hoping to handle over 1,00,000 TEUs in May which would be an all-time record in India,'' says Mr Sarbh.
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