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Maritime News Service

Cargo traffic grows 12% at Kochi Port - 2012-04-03

The Kochi Port Trust recorded a 12 per cent growth in cargo traffic in the past fiscal. The port handled 2 crore tonnes of cargo in one year, the first time in its history.

Recording the second highest growth rate among India's ports, Kochi port achieved a throughput of 2.01 crore tonnes. Oil handling increased by 14 per cent, break bulk and bulk handling by 53 per cent and 14 per cent respectively, while container throughput showed only a modest increase of 6 per cent. However, the port has been going through a financial crisis since its ambitious International Container Transhipment Terminal project works far below capacity due to inadequate feedering of containers, a press release issued here said. The port has had to resort to austerity measures, including freezing of DA and restrictions in many labour allowances.

On productivity parameters the port was able to achieve an average pre-berth detention time of 4.09 hours, average turnaround time of 1.84 days and average berth-day output of 15,884 tonnes; all figures comparing well with national benchmarks. In its bid to induct modern cargo-handling infrastructure the port commissioned a modern mobile harbour crane to support bulk and break bulk handling in June last year. The stevedoring capacity of the port has been increased with the induction of stevedores from various regions of the hinterland of the port. The port is now in a position to assure ‘berthing on arrival' to large bulk carriers with up to 12.5 m draught on Willingdon Island. The port is enhancing its warehousing and storage operations with modern cargo tippers. Tariff concessions for cruise and feeder container vessels and non-tariff concessions for coffee export sector have been positively received.

The port has finalised a master plan for optimum use of its resources after the vacation of container handling from Willingdon Island. The tender process for developing the former Rajiv Gandhi Container Terminal into a major automated bulk handling terminal is underway. A tender to develop the plot for a major cement handling facility at its Q5 berth has also been released. The Q4 berth is being developed as a terminal for bulk oil handling. An LPG unloading and bunkering facility is being developed at Puthuvypeen. The port is adding a modern cruise facilitation centre to cater to cruise tourists. The port handled two turn around operations in the previous year and over 40 cruise vessels are expected in this season.

A free trade warehousing zone is being developed in the South End area of the Willingdon Island to cater to the increasing demand for supply chain activities. A tea trade centre is being planned to develop high-end consolidation activities for the tea export sector.  A logistic park is also planned to meet general warehousing requirements of trade. The old marine workshop together with dry dock is being developed into a 45-acre modern ship repair complex to be promoted in the private sector.

The port expects to get Cabotage relaxation in the coming year, which should trigger an increase in container traffic. The LNG terminal should be operational by December this year, which will bring LNG to Kerala's shores for the first time.