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Panel to take up Vallarpadam issue with SCI - 2013-06-07

The Parliamentary Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture will take up the issue of Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) using Colombo Port for its transhipment and bypassing the Vallarpadam terminal. The committee Chairman Sitaram Yechury said that they would give suitable recommendations in this regard for the benefit of the Indian port.

It is a fact that SCI’s mainline vessels are depending more on Colombo for transhipment as it is closer to international shipping routes, he said. Even though the Vallarpadam terminal has advantages of its own, it still needs the right concessions to attract transhipment cargo, he added. The Joint Forum of Trade Unions at Kochi Port had submitted a memorandum to the visiting committee highlighting SCI’s attitude towards the Vallarpadam terminal. In 2012-13, SCI handled 3,40,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of Indian containers through Colombo.

The leaders pointed out the public sector company could save at least $300 (Rs 15,000 approximately) on each TEU for every container handled here. Yechury said that the committee had also received a representation from a section of the port employees regarding the land lease deal between Kochi Port and the Lulu group of companies on Bolghatty Island. The representation will be sent to the Shipping Ministry for its comments, he said.

The committee will also recommend that the proposed National Waterways No 3 be extended beyond Kottapuram to the historic site of Muziris to benefit tourists. Yechury also said that the committee will recommend to the Centre the creation of a Spice Route that will link Kerala with 31 other countries along the lines of the Silk Route that China has with Istanbul in Turkey.

Source: The Hindu Business Line