DP World inaugurated the Vallarpadam International Container Transshipment Terminal in India's Port of Cochin Friday. The terminal opened on schedule despite a strike which had closed the Port of Cochin for a week prior to the event.
The terminal is the operator's second to open on the Indian subcontinent this week. The Dubai-based terminal operator opened DP World Lahore, which is also known as the Prem Nagar Dry Port, in Lahore, Pakistan's second-largest city on Thursday of this week.
The new Vallarpadam terminal, DP World's first dedicated transshipment and gateway hub in India, was opened Friday by India's Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in a ceremony attended by more than 5,000 customers, officials and dignitaries. The prime minister and DP World Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem laid the foundation stone for the terminal in February 2005.
The new terminal is a public-private partnership between DP World and the government of India, with Container Corporation of India, Transworld and Chakiat also strategic partners in the venture.
The largest single-operator container terminal in the country, ICTT, which will be operated as DP World Cochin, was built at a cost (including other infrastructure facilities such as road and rail connections) of more than $600 million.
With the opening of the new facility, container handling will move entirely to DP World Cochin from the nearby Rajiv Gandhi Terminal over coming weeks. The older facility may be converted by Cochin Port Trust to handle greater volumes of non-containerized bulk cargo.
Dockworkers called off a strike at India's Port of Cochin Feb. 9 after the Kerala High Court on Wednesday directed the state and the port to retain operations at the Rajiv Gandhi Container Terminal for three months.
DP World Cochin will be completed in three phases. In the first phase, the 1,968-foot long quay with a draught of around 48 feet will be able to simultaneously serve several of the world's largest container ships -- those with a nominal capacity of around 10,000 20-foot equivalent container units -- with capacity to handle 1 million TEUs annually. Capacity will expand in line with market demand, increasing to around 1.5 million TEUs in the second phase; once fully commissioned, capacity will be around 4 million TEUs.
"Container trade in India has been growing year on year by 15 percent, and the development of a transshipment and gateway hub within the country we believe will contribute to further growth," said Anil Singh, senior vice president and managing director of DP World Subcontinent. "There is considerable potential to expand the terminal over time, and we will grow as our customers grow."
As its share of the public-private partnership, the Indian government has also constructed and enhanced supporting infrastructure including a four lane national highway connecting the terminal to the rest of India. A new five-mile long electrified rail link will also allow 15 trains to serve the terminal daily, connecting customers directly with India's national rail network.
Elsewhere in India, DP World operates terminals in Mundra, Nhava Sheva, Chennai and Vishakapatnam. It is also developing a new terminal facility in West Bengal.
-- Contact Peter T. Leach at email@example.com.