India clears Kochi terminal work

India clears Kochi terminal work

India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board has approved the application of Dubai Ports International to develop an international container transshipment terminal at the southwestern Port of Kochi.

Dubai Ports will initially take over the current Rajiv Gandhi Container Terminal at Kochi and operate it for six years or until annual throughput reaches 400,000 TEUs. It will then move to the new terminal at nearby Vallarpadam island. The terminal is expected to cost 20 billion rupees ($454 million) when fully developed.

The transshipment terminal project is part of an integrated development plan drawn by the port. Kochi will soon invite tenders for an international bunkering terminal, and plans to build a special economic zone, a ship repair complex, and an international cruise terminal.

Kochi is part of the major port development project -- called Sagar Mala -- initiated by the previous government of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The southwestern port hopes to be able to compete with Singapore when everything is in place, according to its deputy chairman, A. Janardhana Rao. He said Kochi would offer one-stop service for a range of diverse activities.

Cargo throughput is expected to increase from the present 13 million metric tons to 82 million tons and container traffic from 165,000 TEUs to 3 million TEUs. The average turnaround time would drop to 16 hours from the present 48 hours. The port aims to achieve a productivity of 30 moves per crane hour from 10 moves per crane hour now.

-- N. Vasuki Rao