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i-maritime Newsletter

Efforts on to revive Azhikkal port development proposal - 2011-10-31

As part of the continuing efforts to revive the long-standing proposal for the development of Azhikkal port in Kannur, an official team from the Cochin Shipyard visited the site to look into the technical aspects of the various possibilities the port has to offer . While the visit is being termed as a very preliminary exercise, it has brought into focus the persisting demand for taking up the project that has gone through different phases of development proposals for almost a decade. As late as the beginning of this year, the Ports Department had floated a global tender for the development of the port on public-private partnership basis. Mundra Ports and SEZ Ltd had responded to the tender and even submitted a project costing more than Rs 3,000m crore, against the outlay of Rs 760 crore projected by the department. It was reported that Mundra Port had entered the fray in view of a proposal by the State Government to set up a thermal project in the region based on imported coal. But the Government scrapped the proposal subsequently and Mundra Port withdrew from the scene. In the event, the department had entrusted Deloitte India Ltd to prepare a revised detailed feasibility report before floating a fresh tender for identifying the private partner for developing the port. It may also be noted that a few years ago, Sharjah-based Universal Lubricants had come up with a proposal to set up an oil jetty at the mouth of the port, which, however, did not materialise for various reasons. Later, based on a detailed project report by ICICI-Kinfra, the port was proposed to be developed in modules to include berths for containers, general cargo and petroleum carriers.
The port had also figured in the Union Government's National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP). But it did not take off allegedly due to the lukewarm approach of the State Government to the proposal. The recently unveiled coastal shipping programme of the State Government has selected Azhikkal port as one of the three ports to be developed for implementing the project, the other two being Beypore and Kollam. The proposed establishment of a coast guard academy in the vicinity of the port is also cited as a major reason expediting the development project.