Krishnapatnam (Andhra Pradesh): The Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) has launched its direct container shipping service between India and Myanmar and it plans to commence soon vessels to Thailand and Vietnam in line with the government's look east policy.
The fortnightly service was flagged off at Krishnapatnam Port, one of the fastest growing ports on the East Coast of India, after it sailed from Chennai late Friday.
The new service, with a 1,200 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) vessel MV
Kamal, will connect Chennai-Krishnapatnam-Yangon- Colombo. It is expected to facilitate faster trade at low cost.
Capt. S. Narula, director, liner and passenger services, SCI, told reporters that the service will be turned into a weekly one if the cargo traffic goes up. He said they planned to increase the vessel to 2,500 TEUs in the second phase and eventually to 4,500 TEUs.
"This is just the beginning. We are looking forward to be associated with
Krishnapatnam container terminal port for a long time," he said.
The SCI official said their next focus will be Thailand and Vietnam and hoped that the liner services to the two countries will start in three to six months.
Narula said as the government is pursuing look east policy, all ports on Bay of Bengal will get a big boost. He believes Krishnapatnam will be immensely benefited as this being a private port can have tariff suited to its customers.
The bulk of the cargo which the vessel will carry to Myanmar will be cement and the SCI hopes to diversify the cargo.
C. Sasidhar, managing director, Krishnapatnam Port Company Limited, said as majority of cement exports are happening through the private port, India is a proud partner in building Myanmar.
Vinita Venkatesh, director, Krishnapatnam Port Container Terminal, said India has been importing pulses from Myanmar but was not exporting any goods. "Now the exports of cement will bring down the costs of imports," she said.
The port proposes to create a 'daal zone' which will help the importers of pulses in Andhra Pradesh to have huge storage facilities managed by international traders.
The port container terminal at Krishnapatnam Ahandled 58,000 TEUs last financial year, the first year of its operations and hopes to cross 100,000 TEUs during the current fiscal.
The terminal has a capacity of 1.2 MTEUs (Million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units), which can go up to six MTEUs in the second phase, likely to be taken up in 2017-18.