The government on Thursday approved Rs 217.58 crore for the Visakhapatnam port to enhance its capacity for fertiliser handling by 3.7 million tonnes per annum.
The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved the amount for installing mechanised fertiliser handling facilities at Eastern Quay-7 (EQ-7) berth in the inner harbour of the Visakhapatnam port.
The mechanisation of the berth along with additional bagging and dispatch facility would enable the port to handle 5.2 million tonnes of fertilisers a year, a capacity addition of 3.7 million tonnes per annum.
India imports 50-60 lakh tonnes of urea, 40 lakh tonnes of MOP and 60 lakh tonnes of DAP every year to meet domestic demand.
The project would be developed on a design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis at an estimated cost of Rs 217.58 crore and is to be implemented within 24 months from the date of award of the concession, an official release said.
The modernisation will enhance the operational efficiency levels at various stages of fertiliser handling at the port, reduce cost of handling and avoid demurrages to ships.
"It will lead to faster unloading and speedier evacuation of fertilizers at the port," the statement said, adding that the mechanised handling of fertilizer will also decongest the roads, avoid spillage, minimize the pollution and other environmental problems.