The Vizhinjam International Seaport, Thiruvananthapuram, received mothership MV San Fernando, owned by SFL Corporation and chartered by Maersk (AP Moller Group), Denmark, as the massive vessel reached the outer anchorage around 7 am on Thursday, and berthed in by 9.30 am, signalling start of trial operations at the mega container transshipment port.

Thousands witness event

MV San Fernando was welcomed with a water salute by tug Ocean Prestige as thousands lined up on the port with Indian flags to welcome the carrier, 300 metres long and 48 metres wide. The mothership will unload around 2,000 containers, marking a milestone in the first phase of the mega Vizhinjam project, the country’s first deepwater container transhipment port. 

Official ceremony

It has been developed in a public-private partnership (PPP) model with Adani Ports as the private partner. The official ceremony to receive the mothership will be held on Friday. Kerala Port Minister VN Vasavan had told the State Assembly the port has received the location code (IN NYY1), and is awaiting Electronic Data Interchange recognition, custodian code, Immigration Check Post clearance, full clearance of NSPC, among others. Full-scale commercial operations could start by September/October.

The port has a natural draft of 18-20 meters, and can host some of the largest container vessels. Located 16 km south of here, the international seaport lies in close proximity to the international East-West shipping route. When full operational, it could offer tight competition to Colombo (Sri Lanka), Salalah (Oman) and Singapore ports in terms of handling container traffic.