Logistics

Coastal shipping service connecting Kochi to North Kerala flagged off

V.Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on June 29, 2021

A River Sea Vessel MV Hope Seven has been deployed for the service

Aimed at reducing the logistics cost to Northern Kerala, Green Freight Corridor service -- operated by Round The Coast Pvt Ltd -- has started its coastal shipping service connecting Kochi Port to Beypore and Azhikkal ports.

Mansukh Mandaviya, the Union Minister of State for Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, inaugurated the loading operation on the maiden voyage at a virtual event on Tuesday.

The operators have deployed a River Sea Vessel MV Hope Seven with a draft of 3.2 metre for this service. The vessel has a designed capacity of 106 TEUs and can carry 50-60 TEUs of laden containers and has 20 reefer plug points.

The vessel will call at Kochi twice a week, and feeder exim and coastal boxes to the ports of Beypore and Azhikkal. JM Baxi is the general agent for the service.

The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has accorded high priority to building greater synergies between the major ports and non-major ports in order to promote coastal trade and to improve logistics efficiencies through its flagship programme – ‘Sagarmala’. By doing so, the Ministry aims to provide seaborne connectivity to the trade and industries in the hinterland, reduce congestion on the road and rail besides bringing down logistics cost.

The commodities that would be shipped would include rice, wheat, salt, construction material, sanitary wares, and cement, unloaded at Kochi from Gujarat. On the return leg, the operators are targeting to move exim cargo such as plywood, footwear, textiles, coffee. Similarly the imported cashew containers would also be moved from Kochi to Kollam at a later stage, port officials said.

To promote coastal shipping of containers, Kochi Port is offering 50 per cent rebate in vessel related charges for the River Sea vessels. Similarly, Kerala Government has also offered an operational incentive @10 per cent above the road transportation cost as per the NATPC study report for coastal shipping in the minor ports for a period of one year from January 23. These hand-holding measures would help the sustenance of the service during the initial period and would encourage introduction of more services of this kind on regular basis.

This service is expected to bring about a marked modal shift of transportation of containers and ease the congestion on the road and reduce carbon footprint. This also augurs well to connect the hinterlands of northern Kerala, particularly the exim trade in Kozhikode and Kannur region.

Published on June 29, 2021

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