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Published: 28 December 2010
Indian box hub to open next month
India’s first International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT) at Vallarpadam near Kochi port in the southern state of Kerala is scheduled to become operational next month.
DP World has developed the ICTT on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis, involving a gross revenue share of 33.3% with the Kochi Port Trust. The terminal is expected to attract the bulk of domestic container cargo currently transhipped over the ports of Colombo, Singapore, Dubai and Salalah.
A new coastal shipping policy, designed to address the issue of cabotage that threatens to impact on the ICTT’s prospects, is due to be announced in a few months, said Federal Shipping Secretary K Mohandas.
Although the federal stipulation is that Indian-flagged ships should carry intra-country cargo, this would be amended, treating container transhipment cargo on a different footing, he said.
Relaxation of the cabotage law would mean that transhipment cargo would not be subject to Customs examination at Vallarpadam, which is within a special economic zone, but be carried at ports of origin or destination within India.
Mohandas said the federal government’s new coastal shipping policy will provide impetus to coastal traffic and movement of cargo through inland waterways. The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has undertaken the development of 3,460km of waterways throughout the country.
• Bids have been invited for the construction of the first phase of India’s second ICTT at Vizhinjam, which is also in Kerala state. The state government has approved a funding proposal under which a bank consortium will raise US$553M for the project and the central government will provide a US$55M loan.
A shipping conclave, organised as part of the floating of global tenders for the terminal, was attended by port developers, financiers and consultants. Shipping Secretary K Mohandas said the federal government would fully cooperate with the Kerala government in developing the Vizhinjam terminal.
Local media reported that port operators are expected to be shortlisted by January 2011 and work on the terminal could begin before the end of the year. Reliance ADAG, APM Terminals, Mundra Port, Essar Shipping, Shipping Corporation of India, the GVK and GMR groups, as well as interested parties from France and West Asia are reported to have purchased the RFQ documents.