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Friday , 19 April 2024

Trans-shipment terminal proposed at Vizhinjam Port

Vizhinjam, a coastal town 16km south of Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, is proposed to be developed as a future state-of-the-art greenfield deepwater port. The Government of Kerala is re-launching the project as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project. It has set up Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited (VISL) as a special purpose company fully owned by the government with a mandate to attract private sector participation for the port’s development and to set up the external infrastructure. During the last decade, there has been a steady growth of container traffic at the Indian ports. Currently, a majority of these ports rely on direct services or use far-off ports for their transshipment needs.

The proposed trans-shipment terminal will be an ideal location for attracting mainline vessels ranging in capacities from Post Panamax to Malacca-max in a phased manner. The operations of the container terminal would comprise loading and unloading of containers from/to vessels, stacking of containers in the yard, gate operations for in and out movement of containers, equipment management, various services rendered to shipping lines viz. navigation, stevedoring, shifting and reefer monitoring among other things.

Vizhinjam has many advantages for being built as a trans-shipment terminal. It is an all-weather port, just one nautical mile off the international shipping line and very close to the east-west shipping axis. It is endowed with natural depth of 24 m which is by far the best compared to other ports in the world. There is no littoral sedimentation and due to good natural depth, would either not need dredging or would need only minimal capital dredging and thus, will have low operation and maintenance costs.

The port can attract large share of the container trans-shipment traffic which is now being diverted to Colombo, Singapore and Dubai. At present, India’s port capacity (12 major Indian ports) is a meager 4.61 million TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) per annum compared with China’s capacity of 50 million TEUs. Vizhinjam Port alone will have a capacity of 4.10 million TEU/annum. The port is expected to save र1000 crores in foreign exchange.

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