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i-maritime News Service

Kerala firm launches river-sea vessel for cargo transport - 2013-05-02

Taking advantage of the liberalised rules aimed at boosting coastal shipping, another Kerala-based shipping company has launched a river-sea container vessel for cargo transport. The vessel, Great Sea Vembanad, owned by Great Sea Shipping Pvt Ltd, has been deployed into the waters by K.M.Chandrasekahar, Vice-Chairman of State Planning Board, at Century Shipyard, Panavally.

N.J. Thomas, Managing Director and CEO, Great Sea Shipping Pvt Ltd, told Business Line that the vessel with a capacity to carry 51 TEU was designed for coastal transportation between the minor ports in the State. Built at a cost of Rs 11 crore, he said, the ship requires only 2.5 metre draft and is easily manoeuvrable at the ports. The company has plans to start fixed port-to-port service from Kochi to Kollam shortly. It is in advanced stage of discussions with the cashew trade for moving containers using the river-sea vessel. There will be a regular sailing on every alternate day from Kochi to Kollam and vice versa, he said.

The overall logistics cost is expected to come down by about 25-30 per cent once the trade shifted to coastal transportation for moving goods. The coastal cargo movement from Malabar region to Kochi will also be possible once the essential infrastructure facilities are put in place in minor ports in Kannur and Kozhikode, he added.

Specifically designed for coastal transportation, river-sea ships can ply seamlessly from sea into inland waterways and vice versa. Kerala with a coastline of 590 km and 205 km waterways (NW 3) is ideally suited for the operation of river-sea vessels especially because of the presence of a major port and 17 intermediary and minor ports, he added. Moreover, the advantages of river-sea vessels are less pollution, fuel savings, and reduction of accidents, he said. River-sea vessels are proven models in many countries to move cargoes from minor ports to major ports. It seamlessly integrates seaborne trade from inland waters to coastal waters and vice versa. India has second largest coastline after the US. However, the traffic between the major and minor ports is negligible.

Source : Hindu Business Line