Amaravati, Feb 7 : Work for development of Machilipatnam Port on the east coast of India commenced on Thursday.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N.
Chandrababu Naidu laid the foundation stone for the deep sea port to be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 12,000 crore by Navayuga Engineering Company Limited (NECL).
The greenfield, all-weather multi-purpose port is coming up in Machilipatnam town in Krishna district near Amaravati.
Naidu said the port would help in rapid development of Amaravti and contribute to the industrialisation in the region.
Officials said the construction of new port began in Machilipatnam, 155 years after the historic Masula Port was destroyed by a cyclone in 1864.
During the 17th century, the port was a trade centre for French, British and Dutch.
Spread across 4,800 acres, the first phase with four berths is expected to be completed and operational in 18 months.
It will have 40 million tonnes capacity in the first phase. When completed, the port's handling capacity will go up to 150 million tonnes.
Port-based Special Economic Zones (SEZs), power plants, industries and ancillary units are also planned in the vicinity.
The project is expected to generate employment opportunities entailing 80,000 direct and indirect jobs.
"Given Machilipatnam's access to prominent international waterways, the project will be a significant catalyst in positioning India strategically as a global international trading hub," said Chinta Sridhar, Managing Director, NECL.
NECL bagged the project to develop the port on Build-Own-Operate-Transfer basis for a period of 50-year.
NECL has developed several ports and related infrastructure including the country's second largest private port - Krishnapatnam Port.