The Cochin Port Authority (CPA) plans to deepen the draft at Vallarpadam International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT) in a bid to develop it into a successful transshipment hub in the region. Despite the negative growth in container throughput in FY2022-23, the Ministry of Ports has given CPA permission in principle to deepen the fairway to attract more ships to the port, positioning it as a competitor to Colombo and achieving independence in container transhipment. However, critics heavily criticized it, citing that the project would plunge into a financial crisis and the port’s workers’ organizations also demanded that the CPA not go ahead with the plan.
CPA has now decided to hire a team from IIT-Madras to conduct a detailed feasibility study on further deepening the canal to accommodate larger ships in the port. After growth slowed, Dubai Port (DP) World, which manages ICTT, argued that the port could only attract more ships if the depth was increased. However, the Cochin Port Employees Organization claims that DP World has failed to attract vessels requiring a depth of 14.5m, which is now provided by the port at an annual cost of Rs 140 crore and further deepening is unnecessary. “Additional dredging will cost around Rs 2,000 crore. If CPA goes ahead with the project, it should reach an agreement with DP World to increase the port’s productivity,” said CD Nandakumar, general organizer of the Cochin Port Joint Union. Among the country’s major ports, the Port of Cochin currently ranks at the forefront of annual maintenance work to maintain its draft over the past three years.
Tags: Cochin Port Trust,baggern,ICTT Vallarpadam