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Shipping woes of Chennai companies

WIL’s Srivats Ram expressed concern over the long time taken to ship consignments through Chennai Port. The turnaround of vessels takes long with eastern ports being served by feeder lines with transhipment at Colombo or Singapore for destinations in Europe, US and elsewhere. The absence of direct services to these destinations with higher costs involved in transhipment impacts on exports. This is a big concern in the context of the huge increase in engineering exports from Tamil Nadu. Ram pointed to three TVS companies alone accounting for export volume of over Rs 2000 crore a year. Murali pointed to another Rs 1500 crore of exports by castings and forgings industry. Major automobile producers – Hyundai Motors, Renault-Nissan and Ford Motor Company – among them, export annually around 400,000 cars; plus there are exports of commercial vehicles by Ashok Leyland. The value of automobile exports could thus be in excess of Rs 20, 000 crore. Surprisingly, port facilities have not been keeping pace with such booming exports.

This is surprising in the context of four large ports operating in the vicinity of Chennai – Chennai Port, Ennore Port, L&T’s Kattupalli Port and Krishnapatnam Port in Seemandhra. Despite the Union Ministry of Shipping headed in the recent decades by MP from Tamil Nadu (TR Baalu and GK Vasan), one did not witness much dynamism in regard to leveraging the rich facilities created. Sadly, the state government has also been indifferent to exploiting this huge potential.

There are expectations on the dynamic Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu of Seemandhra attracting a lot of traffic from Tamil Nadu. With the capital of the new state located near Vijayawada, this port will receive a lot of attention.


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