The recently launched container barge service between Kottayam Port, ICD and Cochin Port through national waterways is getting encouraging responses from stakeholders.

The terminal operator DP World Cochin said that the commencement of the barge service is an important step towards de-congestion of roads and providing an alternate and efficient mode of transport for the Exim and domestic trade in Kerala.The container terminal at Vallarpadam now has the distinction of road, rail and waterway connectivity by barge.

India‘s large inland waterways network has immense potential to be an alternative means of transportation. Leveraging this network will benefit the environment and boost trade in the country by reducing cost of transportation and increasing market accessibility for customers, it said.

ICTT at Vallarpadam has received the third service and the promoters of the barge service have plans to make it a daily service in the near future from the current voyage of every three days. A regular service between ICTT Cochin and Kottayam Port & ICD is expected to benefit the importers and exporters by way of reduced haulage for the last and first mile connectivity. The cost of movement by waterways is likely to be 30-40 per cent cheaper compared to road movement. Maersk has taken the lead in using the barge service for movement of imported newsprint to Kottayam.

According to port officials, the barge service will help reduce carbon footprint and cost for first and last mile connectivity thereby fulfilling the objective of Sagarmala programme of the Shipping Ministry.