Cochin Port Trust eyes India’s transshipment cargo from Colombo

The Cochin Port Trust is chalking out strategies to attract India’s transshipment cargoes currently being shipped from the neighbouring Colombo Port.

Around 1.8 million tonnes of cargo from the country is being moved from Colombo, which needs to be brought back, said M Beena, Chairperson, Cochin Port Trust.

Transshipment has been envisaged as a key attraction of Kochi port, and the government has also been taking necessary steps to market the port as a transshipment hub, she said at a webinar organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the topic Cochin Port Trust – Strategies Post Covid Era.

The government has invested ₹1,700 crore for setting up the transshipment terminal at Vallarpadam and ₹1,100 crore has been invested by DP World for the same, she added.

Beena’s remarks assume greater significance in light of the Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya asking officials to actualise the vision of a transshipment hub in India.

The highlight of Cochin Port Trust is its geo-strategic importance due to locational advantage to international shipping routes. However, she pointed out that the port has identified some limitations that included lack of adequate draught as well as higher vessel-related charges which is a setback to employee cost and dredging cost.

The deepening of the channel is an important requirement as the current draught is 14.5 metres that was achieved in 2010. Over the past 10 years, the Colombo Port has increased its draught at 18 metres, she said.

The port is also looking at developing itself into a bunkering destination, following the remarkable pick-up in bunkering since January thanks to the new IMO regulations. Another area is literage of crude with the presence of a robust single point mooring (SPM) system. Since the Mumbai and Bina refineries do not have SPMs, Beena said the crude would be brought to Kochi and moved to lighter vessels and sent to these ports.

Initially, there is a need for liberal rates for these refineries, but once the business is established, it will bring in big dividends, she added.

Discussions are also going on with FACT to transport fertilisers through coastal movement from the port. Likewise, the port is also trying to get jute from West Bengal through the coastal route, she said.
Source: The Hindu Business Line

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