Centre proposes to convert Kochi port into transshipment hub, plans to deepen dockyard 

Reshma Bhaskaran

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Representational Image l Kochi Port l Photo: ANI

Kochi: The union government has decided to increase the depth of dockyards in the Kochi port to facilitate anchoring of huge ships. The Centre has announced an investment worth Rs 380 crore for this, by including the project in the Sagarmala scheme. The proposed project will elevate Kochi port to a transshipment hub, thereby contributing to the trading sector of the nation.

The current depth of the dockyard in Kochi port is 14.5 metre. The depth will be increased to 16 m in the first phase of the project. This will aid to improve the container management capacity of the Vallarpadam terminal from 10 lakh TEU to 20 lakh TEU. The proposed project will ease cargo transportation and solve many challenges faced by the traders here.

A backlash to Port of Colombo

Increasing the depth of the dockyard in Kochi will adversely affect the Colombo port in Sri Lanka. Currently, most of the international cargo vessels are being docked at the Colombo port to transport containers to the Kochi port. By improving the dockyard in Kochi port, these huge cargo vessels can arrive in Kochi directly.

The distance from the international ship route to Kochi port is only 49 nautical miles, while the distance to the Port of Colombo is 110 nautical miles.

Dilemma over project expense

Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal has hinted that Port Trust has to incur half of the expense of the project. However, as per the present condition, the Kochi Port Trust is incapable to bear such a huge liability. Hence, the port trust has requested the Centre to take up the whole expenditure of the project.

In addition to this, no guidelines were issued regarding maintenance of the port. The maintenance works are currently undertaken by the Port Trust here.

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