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Kochi, July 28

THE overall cargo traffic handled through Kochi port has declined by close to one million tonnes in the first quarter of the current fiscal compared to the corresponding period in the last fiscal.

As per the figures made available with the port authorities, the total cargo handled through the port stood at 26.65 lakh tonnes during the period between April and June this year against 34.30 lakh tonnes in the corresponding period last year.

The port authorities attributed the reasons for the decline in cargo traffic is due to lower import of crude following the shut down of plants at Kochi Refineries Ltd (KRL) for annual maintenance and upgradation. Consequently, the arrival of crude vessels to the port had also come down to 21 in the first quarter against 37 in the corresponding period last year, the officials said.

The fluid catalytic cracker unit of the refinery was shut down for Euro compliance upgradation norms and for capacity enhancement, sources in KRL said. The unit, which was shut down for 45 days during May/June, has resumed production towards the end of last month.

However, the port officials maintained that the container traffic has surged during the period after the container terminal was taken over by India Gateway Terminal Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary floated by the Dubai Ports International. The box traffic in the first three months touched 46,479 TEUs against 43,828 TEUs .

The average turnaround time, including detention of vessels, in the first quarter was 2.30 days against 2.26 days. The average pre-berthing detention time has come down to 8.07 hours against 12.52 hours.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 29, 2005)
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