The Cochin Port Trust has assured coir exporters community based at Alappuzha that their problems of increasing shipping cost and delay in cargo handling, consequent to opening of the Vallarpadam International Container transshipment Terminal (ICTT) will be addressed adequately.

This assurance was given by Port Trust Chairman, Mr Paul Antony, at an Open Forum organised by the Coir Board at Alappuzha.

Officials of the Coir Board and representatives of coir exporters associations, steamer agents, trailer operators and customs house agents also took part at the meeting. DP World, operators of the ICTT, was represented by its Chief Executive Officer, Mr K.K. Krishnadas.

The Port Chairman said that steps had already been initiated to tackle these problems, which had come to its notice and the results of the action taken by the CPT in this regard would begin to be felt by the exporting community soon.

The Port Traffic Manager, Mr C. Unnikrishnan, explained the services being offered by the port to move cargo containers between the existing Rajiv Gandhi Container Terminal and the ICTT, using its ro-ro barge at a concessional rate.

The Federation of Indian Coir Exporters Associations (FICEA) Chairman, Mr John Chacko, said the exporters would be forced to divert cargo to neighbouring ports such as Tuticorin and Chennai, where cargo handling charges were far below that of the Kochi port, if the CPT failed to accede to their demands immediately in respect of additional shipping charges.

The open forum was convened at the behest of the Coir Board Chairman, Mr V.S. Vijayaraghavan.

The Board was represented by the Secretary, Mr M. Kumararaj, and the Director (Marketing), Mr M. Kumaraswamy Pillai, besides the Board members, Mr V.R. Prasad and Mr Kalyana Sundaram.