New Seemandhra Industrial Zone now has a world-class seaport which, through its highly equipped facilities is expected to change the economic and trade outlook of Seemandhra region and soon emerge as the export-import centre of industrialization. Reports Veena Kurup, Elets News Network (ENN)
After the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Telangana and residual Andhra Pradesh (Seemandhra), the Government of India accorded Special Category status to Seemandhra for five years, along with tax incentives for 10 years to promote industrial development. It had earlier given tax incentives to Haryana and Himachal Pradesh that included zero percent excise duty, income tax rebates, accelerated depreciation, rebates in VAT, etc. Similar tax incentives are expected to be given to residual Andhra Pradesh (Seemandhra) once a new government is formed post elections. Such an incentive package is a first-of-its-kind tax to any coastal state of India.
Krishnapatnam Port Container Terminal offers that impetus in developing Nellore region as a industrial and logistical hub with its state-of-art, all-weather, round the clock operational terminal, handling a record volume of 60,000 TEU in its first year of operations. In this backdrop, Seemandhra region is poised to see massive industrialisation with several regional and international companies gearing up to make huge investments in various projects. With a long coastline, Seemandhra region is perfectly placed to take advantage of such an opportunity. Particularly, Nellore, the port city in the southern-most district of Seemandhra, is poised to become the most attractive destination for industrial activity in the newly formed state.
What differentiates Nellore from the rest of the region is the potential that the area offers – vast land availability, proximity to the sea, rich mineral wealth, abundant power capacity addition of more than 15,000MW and availability of water. But the key differentiating factor which will transform Nellore district into the biggest industrial zone in Southern India is the presence of a worldclass seaport – Krishnapatnam Port which is just 25 km away from the Nellore city.
Pride of the Eastern Coast
Krishnapatnam Port is a massive project high on capital investment and focused towards the socio-economic growth of the region. Krishnapatnam Port has already attracted major industries around the port – thermal power plants, edible oil refineries, lubricant plants, steel plants, leather parks, fertiliser plants, SEZs, multi-product industrial zones, etc. Having noticed the potential of the container trade in the region, a new terminal – Krishnapatnam Port Container Terminal (KPCT) – was developed by the port. This terminal, in its first year of operations, has become one of the largest and deepest draft terminal on the east coast of India. This new mega project – KPCT – is poised to become the nerve centre for industrialisation in Seemandhra region.
Phase-I of KPCT, has a capacity of 1.2 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) with two berths of 650 million tonnes in length. Technically superior facilities like the five state-of-art Super post-Panamax quay cranes deliver the highest productivity levels in India, besides gantries and other equipment. It is also well connected by a 24-km double-line rail (with on dock rail siding in the container terminal) and 4-lane road to the national grid, making for swift access and evacuation of containers and cargo. This has encouraged some of the world’s top container line vessels in the world, viz. Maersk Line and MSC to already start calling at KPCT and offering connectivity to more than 300 ports worldwide. The terminal’s hinterland covers southern Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, including Bangalore and even parts of Maharashtra.
The seafood industry of Seemandhra benefits immensely by shorter road transportation and faster transit via KPCT. As a result, several aqua exporters are taking advantage of the global prices. The terminal recently handled imports of fruits (oranges, apples), dates, and timber, which are brought to the port from as close as Myanmar to as far as Latin America. Such is the potential of this terminal that the traders can reap rich benefits by using its world-class facilities. New services are constantly getting added; new lines are exploring their opportunities, new business ventures are being formed, clients are getting in long-term contracts, and slowly an investment boom is taking place. The port is in the process of adding numerous strengths like maximum efficiency, minimum dwell time and maximum safety, thus making it one of the finest and most modern ports in the world. This port will change the outlook of Seemandhra and naturally emerge as the export-import centre of industrialization as the trade prefers to set-up their plants in its vicinity.
India’s increasing trade with countries in South-East Asia and the Far East make KPCT an ideal option for importers and exporters dealing with the regions. The excellent connections offered by the container liners from KPCT to all parts of the world is benefitting the importers and exporters in the immediate hinterlands of Guntur, Ongole, Vijayawada, Gudur, Kodur, Nellore, etc. The trade in these areas is enjoying a closer and more efficient option, facilitating reduced transportation costs, thereby increasing their competitiveness in the global markets. Agricultural commodities such as coffee, maize, rice, groundnut, chilies, onions, raw cotton, tobacco, etc can be stored in the port’s warehouses for container stuffing; while timber and granites – both rough blocks as well as finished slabs, can be handled in open yards with the state-of-art equipment available at the port. Importers can also lift their boxes direct from the container yards to the factories without going through container freight stations.