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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2002

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CCTL expects normal operations from Friday

Raja Simhan T.E.

CHENNAI, Oct. 22

OPERATIONS at Chennai Container Terminal Ltd (CCTL) inside the Chennai port are expected to return to normalcy (no berthing delays) from October 25.

Work at the terminal was affected during the past few days following a fatal accident there on October 13. Due to the accident, the quay crane III (QC3) underwent repairs and would be commissioned either today or tomorrow, Mr Ganesh Raj, CEO, CCTL, told Business Line. There were a couple of container vessels waiting outside, he added.

The port users, meanwhile, complained that the situation at the terminal was deteriorating ever since the QC3 went out of order following the accident. "Normal working at the terminal was affected and there has not been any improvement in the situation since the accident happened eight days ago. The crane productivity is bad and there is currently congestion in the port, with berthing time averaging three to four days," the users complained.

"What is more worrisome is the fact that there has been no information/update from CCTL, leaving the trade and everyone confused and in a state of fix," said a user association.

In his reply to the users, Mr Raj said, "I am surprised at the statement (lack of communication) as I believe that steamer agent's representatives attending the daily berth meeting have been fully apprised of the situation, including our ongoing plans in addressing them".

According to Mr Raj, post-accident, all equipment are being re-evaluated for additional safety interlock and mechanical stops. Further, receipts and deliveries of containers though initially strained have now been regularised and will continue unhindered. Additional new RTGs (rubber tyred gantry cranes) have been commissioned ahead of schedule.

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