Logistics

Kerala to take up Kochi port’s request with Centre

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on March 25, 2013 Published on March 25, 2013
Export containers being loaded onto a container vessel anchored at the International Container Transshipment Terminal at Vallarpadam in Kochi

Can do more: Export containers being loaded onto a container vessel anchored at the International Container Transshipment Terminal at Vallarpadam in Kochi (file photo)

The Kerala Government will take up with the Centre, Kochi port’s request for the Rs 400-crore financial assistance to undertake maintenance dredging at the port. This was stated by State Minister for Ports K. Babu in the State Assembly on Monday.

 He pointed out that the performance of Kochi port is expected to improve in the next three years following the relaxation of the Cabotage restriction. Till then, the port needs financial support.

The Union Government had relaxed the Cabotage regulations at the Vallarpadam container terminal, allowing foreign ships to operate feeder vessels. This is expected improve the cargo volume at the port.    

However, right now the port’s financial position is precarious and it needs central assistance to undertake maintenance dredging. As the silt levels are high in the channel, the port has to carry out frequent dredging to maintain the depth, he said.

cost sharing

The port has been demanding sharing of dredging expenses between various agencies using the channel. Unlike other ports, the port channel is used by the Indian Navy, Cochin Shipyard and the Coast Guard. However, the dredging expense is borne by the port alone.

Babu pointed out that the Centre had extended financial support for capital dredging as part of setting up the transhipment terminal at Vallarpadam.

According to the Minister, the Vallarpadam terminal has recorded a 10 per cent increase in container throughput in the recent period with the relaxation of Cabotage Law on December 20 last year. However, the terminal is handling only 33.7 per cent of its one million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) capacity.

Once the terminal starts attracting more ships to handle transhipment cargoes, the Minister expressed the hope that the terminal would emerge as a major revenue earner not only for the port but also for the State as a whole .    

Draught

Meanwhile, the Kochi Port management has declared a 14-metre draft draught at Vallarpadam terminal and is targeting to achieve 14.5 metres shortly. The Dredging Corporation of India is presently carrying out the work.

According to a trade circular issued by the port, it has been decided to increase the maximum permissible draught available in the terminal berth length of 600 metres to 14 metres, based on the progress made in dredging. The turnaround of vessels with more than 225 metres and drawing maximum 14 metres draught will be subject to tide and weather conditions, the circular said. 

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Published on March 25, 2013
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