Bangalore: Union government-owned Cochin port has decided to drop its vessel-related charges for ships calling at India’s first international container transhipment terminal (ICTT) to match the rates prevailing at rival ports in South and South-East Asia.
DP World Pvt. Ltd, majority owned by the Dubai government, is developing the ICTT at Vallarpadam in Cochin port with a capacity to handle one million standard containers, investing about Rs3,000 crore in the first phase.
A transhipment port or terminal, such as the ones located in Colombo, Singapore, Dubai and Salalah (Oman), typically has a depth of more than 16m. This allows big container ships to call at the port and load cargo containers arriving on smaller ships from smaller regional ports and ship them directly to their destinations.
At least 70% of India’s containerized cargo is currently transhipped via these ports because depth restrictions at the country’s ports does not allow bigger ships to dock.
The board of Cochin port met on Tuesday and decided to match the vessel-related charges levied at other international transhipment ports in South and South-East Asia, a Cochin port official said. He did not want to be named ahead of a formal announcement of the decision.
“Cochin has challenged the status quo by offering the trade competitive rates at ICTT, which will help India attract cargo back to home ground,” said Suresh Joseph, a general manager at DP World heading the ICTT project.