Container operations pick up speed at Vallarpadam

V. Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on April 12, 2011


After some teething troubles, there are welcome signs that container operations are gathering momentum at the newly commissioned Vallarpadam International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT).

According to official sources in ICTT, the reduction in the vessel related charges offered by the Kochi port management for mainline container vessels on par with Colombo port has resulted in the increased arrival of such vessels for transhipment.

Mainlines from West Africa such as Zim/CMA have also started calling at Kochi and companies such as Delmas, PIL and Maersk are planning transhipment of raw cashew consignment to Mangalore and Tuticorin by utilising the ICTT facility.

Global lines

The high productivity and quick turnaround have reduced the berth stay cost, which is an added advantage to the mainliners, and enquiries are also pouring in from various international shipping lines. The 12.5 metre draught presently available in the berth has helped mainline vessels to anchor with cargo. The terminal productivity has also moved up from an average of 15-16 moves per hour per crane at RGCT to about 25 moves and hour per crane resulting in faster turnaround of vessels and reduced berth cost for vessel operators.

However, the lack of sufficient number of CFS in the vicinity of the terminal is hindering free flow of containers to and from the terminal for various Customs procedures. The officials hoped that the connectivity to the hinterland will improve further with the opening of two more CFS by Gateway Distriparks and Kerala State Industrial Enterprises by June.

Handling charges

Asked about the controversy over the high terminal handling charges, the sources said that DP World has effected only an actual increase of Rs 732 for 20 ft containers and Rs 1,150 for 40 ft containers after getting the nod from TAMP. The rates at present are Rs 4,200 for 20 ft and Rs 6,400 for 40 ft.

Earlier, the steamer agents were charging separate rates of lashing and unlashing of containers, which were fixed at Rs 345 /container. Currently, the ICTT rates are inclusive of these charges.

Besides, DP World had stopped the collection of pre-stage charges which were in the range of Rs 500 per 20 ft containers and Rs 600 for 40 ft earlier. The trade has now an option to choose the pre-stage facility either at the Willingdon Island or at any CFS. Customs has also given facility of the printing of shipping bills at Ernakulam Wharf absolutely free.

Published on April 12, 2011

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