CUSTOMISED SERVICES KEY TO GROWTH

Be it infrastructure, customisation of services or connectivity, Krishnapatnam Container Terminal is the fore runner. While positioning as the transhipment hub on the east coast, the port is busy exploring new hinterlands and adding new cargoes to its kitty

Michael Pinto, Former Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, had once rightly said that the so called minor or nonmajor ports will no longer remain so and will grab the market from the major ports. Krishnapatnam Port on the east coast of India has just proved to his predictions. Within few years of establishment, this deep water port has emerged as ‘the port of choice’ for traders from the hinterland on the east coast of India. So what makes Krishnapatnam Port the favoured destination of the exim community? Anil Yendluri, Director & CEO of the port is quick to point at the customised services offered. “There was a lot of market potential that was untapped, we started understanding the market needs and meeting stakeholders in the supply chain and started delivering customised services – if somebody wanted services like stuffing/de-stuffing, CHA, long duration warehousing or instant warehousing services, last mile and last minute connectivity, we provide it,” explains Anil Yendluri.

The level of customised services offered by KPCT can be gauged by the fact that the port runs dedicated trains for each vessel, so the exporter/ importer can plan and schedule the movement of containers so that they reach the port in-time to board a vessel. Dedicated train services from Hyderabad and Bengaluru to KPCT were started at the port’s expense so that customers can plan and send containers. The customer now has certainty of train service and shipping service. On similar lines, customised truck services and freight forwarding services are also offered.

Stuffing and de-stuffing of cargo is offered both inside and outside the port. Dedicated customised services are also offered based on the type of cargo and the customer requirement. As a result, KPCT has seen 116 per cent growth in container movement. In the previous year the port handled 1,38,000 containers and this year it handled 2,55,000 containers, in spite of the impact of demonetisation. In FY2018, the port expects to cross 500,000 containers.

The frequency of mainlines calling the port has increased with the growth in trade demand. The Salalah service started by Maersk helps the west bound cargo a lot, then again Maersk has started weekly service to China. Another China product is the Hyundai and ZIM service.

Transhipment hub

 The port is also aggressively positioning itself to be a transhipment hub. Revealing the mantra for success of a transhipment hub Anil says, “The port requires to be liner centric and develop liner-feeder coordination.” The port has been successful in gaining the confidence of shipping lines by handling containers in time and providing transhipment support. KPCT has successfully positioned as a transhipment hub for the boxes moving up-north.

 Shreyas Shipping is operating transhipment services between Krishnapatnam Port and Kolkata, Haldia Ports. This service has given a lot of boost to the port’s performance, reveals Vinita Venkatesh, Director, KPCT “Mainlines including Maersk, HMM and ZIM are bringing imports from China into Krishnapatnam, which are transhipped to Kolkata by Shreyas. Earlier these imports were transhipped through Singapore or port Klang.”

Cargo

 The solar panel imports coming from China have made a major contribution to the boost in cargo at KPCT. The Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka governments are promoting clean energy which is boosting demand for solar panels. The direct service from Shanghai to Krishnapatnam that serves twice weekly offers solar panel importers a lot of time and cost savings. Recently, the port has started receiving pharma cargo as well.

Concor moves cargo from Krishnapatnam Port to Bengaluru and Hyderabad ICD and the port plans to connect to Nagpur ICD as well. Today about 40 per cent of exports from Bengaluru that were going to Chennai have diverted to Krishnapatnam. In the coming financial year the port expects higher cargo from Hyderabad and Nagpur.

 The upcoming opportunities in cargo growth include heavy metal scrap imports coming to steel industries in the immediate hinterland of Krishnapatnam Port. While the port is just 40km away from the industries but it could not import scrap earlier due to lack of permission and the industries had to import it at a distance of about 200 km. Today the port has a lot of 20 foot container exports being repositioned by shipping lines. Once the movement of scarp starts it will benefit the shipping lines and repositioning of empties will reduce.

Infrastructure

The port has introduced a lot of technology solutions such as automatic gate-in and gate-out, green channel inside the port for trucks to move freely, CCTVs and multiple weighbridges have been installed so that trucks don’t get delayed, and a software programme called e-Xpressway through which all transactions can happen online between the port and the users is developed. Drive through scanners have been installed to simplify examination procedures. With these facilities the port expects to gain about 5,000 teus a month in imports.

 As larger vessels start calling the port, it is preparing in advance by deepening draft at terminals. The draft of container terminal berth 2 will be increased to 16 metres by July. A coastal berth is being constructed to the north of the container berth for anchoring small feeder vessels serving Kolkata and Haldia Ports. Reefer infrastructure is being upgraded to support the seafood export hinterland of Visakhapatnam and the port will have 300 reefer points soon. The port receives cargo from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Bengaluru.

GST a boon for ports

The port is looking forward to the roll out of GST. The new tax regime will definitely help ports as supply chain activities will pick up, cascading effect of taxation will be avoided, avers Anil Yendluri. There will be more warehousing activity in and around the port because there will be no need to worry about multiple taxation. As Andhra Pradesh falls in the five per cent bracket of GST, it should help a lot for the state to become a supply chain capital for the entire country.