DP World Cochin growth outpaces Indian rivals

DP World Cochin growth outpaces Indian rivals

The Vallarpadam Terminal was built to reduce Indian reliance on international transshipment to reach international markets.

DP World is placing high hopes on the Vallarpadam Terminal at Cochin, India, as the country’s only full-fledged transshipment facility leads growth at major, or public, ports that are in the midst of a large-scale “makeover” to shore up operational efficiency and cut logistics costs.

Despite continuing global demand challenges, Vallarpadam’s April-to-August throughput jumped 19 percent year over year to 227,962 TEU from 191,687 TEU, with August volume hitting a monthly record of 50,842 TEU. That compares with a 6.4 percent overall increase at major ports in the same five-month period, according to a JOC.com port data analysis.

“We, at DP World, are dedicated towards providing innovative and efficient services to our customers and partners in the supply chain,” DP World Cochin CEO Jibu Kurien Itty told JOC.com.

The company said the steady, industry-best growth has been a combined result of growing ship calls and better productivity levels following the introduction of a new terminal operating system: ZODIAC. The system has drastically reduced cargo processing times and operating costs in addition to major customer service improvements resulting from standardized procedures, DP World said.

The terminal boasts average gross crane productivity of more than 30 moves per hour and 26-minute turnaround times for drayage, which are reportedly far above those at competing terminals in the region. Additionally, the company has lately been expanding its hinterland reach through rail upgrades to drive up its market share.

As nearby rivals struggled to grow, traffic through Vallarpadam has been on the upswing in recent years, with fiscal year 2016 to 2017 volume up 17.2 percent year over year to 491,000 TEU from 419,000 TEU previously.

That the growth has continued augurs well for the Dubai-headquartered company as it seeks new investment opportunities to cement its position as the largest maritime operator in the emerging Asian economy. That push comes as the government works to build an alternative transshipment hub at Enayem, near Colachel, to challenge Colombo’s dominance for Indian transshipment cargo, but DP World’s most immediate threat is expected to come from Adani Ports’ Vizhinjam project, just 140 miles away, being built with a similar goal.

DP World Cochin’s Phase I includes 1,969 feet of quay, a draft of 48 feet, 109 acres of backup area, four quay cranes, 15 rubber-tire gantry cranes, three reach stackers, and two on-dock intermodal rail-sidings, with a capacity to handle 1 million TEU per year. It will have a quay line of 1,800 meters (about 5,906 feet), 18 quay cranes, 54 gantry cranes, and an annual capacity of 4 million TEU at full build-out.