Port Wings News Network:
With the Tamil Nadu State Government giving its nod to develop the Colachel minor harbour in Kanyakumari district into a Major Transshipment Port few weeks ago, the Ministry of Shipping has accelerated its process to convert the mammoth project into a reality in a shortest possible time.
In an exclusive chat with Port Wings on the sidelines of an event in Chennai recently, Dr. Alok Srivastava, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, said that the (Shipping) Ministry is moving ahead in an unprecedented pace to make the port project a reality.
“We have already called for Consultants for Preparation of Detailed Project Report for Development of Colachel Port. Once the DPR is in our hands, which is expected in about six months time, we will move ahead with the next stage of the project, where we would be finalizing the financial parameters,” Dr Srivastava told Port Wings.
It may be noted that the Ministry of Shipping has already completed the pre-feasibility study of the mammoth port project and said to be convinced with the projections underscored in the report on its potential.
Dr Srivastava stated: “As for as the investment ratio for the project is concerned, Union Government (Shipping Ministry) would hold 76 % share and the rest will be for the State government of Tamil Nadu. In that 76 %, we would pool in funds from the profit making major ports to contribute towards the project.”
POTENTIAL OF COLACHEL PORT
Colachel minor harbour in Southern Tamil Nadu is strategically located in southwest coast of Peninsular India along the world’s busiest shipping route that pass from Europe, Gulf Countries, North Africa etc. through Suez Canal to China, Japan and Pacific Ocean countries.
It may be noted that the harbour is the deepest natural Port in the country with sufficient draft to host the latest 18,000-TEU vessels.
Moreover, Colachel Harbour’s geographical location is ideal to become a major transshipment port for the country as it is located in the right place to cater major ports like Cochin, New Mangalore, Mormugoa , Mumbai, JNPT in the West coast and V O Chidambaranar (Tuticorin), Chennai, Visakhapatnam , Paradip and Kolkata in Eastern side.
In 1995, the Tamil State Government engaged the Tamil Nadu Corporation for Industrial Infrastructure Development (TACID) to conduct feasibility study on Colachel Harbour and the agency submitted a favourable report to Government.
Again, in the instructions of Tamil Nadu Government a Malaysian Port construction Company in 2001 conducted an exhaustive feasibility study on development of Colachel as major transit port for the country and also proposed development of railway and road network around Colachel Port. Besides, the agency also submitted report indicating high economic potential for development of Colachel as Major Port in the interest of the country.
DEPENDENCE OF COLOMBO, SINGAPORE AND JEBEL ALI FOR TRANSSHIPMENT
For all these years, containers originating from the country and bound for far away ports in USA, Europe and Australia are using Colombo, Singapore and Jebel Ali (Dubai) ports for transshipment in the absence of direct services as well as draft limitations for hosting larger vessels.
ADVANTAGES OF COLACHEL
According to maritime experts, if the Colachel Port is developed as envisaged as the country’s major transshipment terminal, it will not only reduce the cost for the EXIM trade, but also help the country to save millions of dollars of foreign exchange now doled out as transshipment costs in those ports. Furthermore, the port may play a vital role in promoting coastal movement of containers meant to be transshipped via Colachel thus reducing pressure on road mode.