Union Minister for Shipping and Ports G. K. Vasan on Tuesday informed Parliament that the Vallarpadam trans-shipment container terminal near Kochi in Kerala would be completed by August.

Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, Mr. Vasan said the Rs.2,118-crore International Container Trans-shipment Terminal (ICTT) at Vallarpadam, being developed by Dubai Port International, was scheduled to be commissioned in the first half of 2010 but now it would be completed by the end of August. The construction of the terminal would allow berthing of mother vessels — large ships carrying containers — at Vallarpadam. Shippers now use trans-shipment hubs such as Colombo and Dubai.

The National Ship Design Research Centre, set up to promote and design research activities for shipping and shipbuilding, has been merged with the Indian Maritime University in Chennai. The IMU also has campuses in Kolkata, Mumbai and Visakhapatnam.

Referring to the demand for setting up an IMU campus in Gujarat, Mr. Vasan said the Kandla Port Trust had approved the setting up of a Marine Engineering College by IMU and had allocated 12.5 acres. The college would be set up and run by a private developer.

On developing Vadinar port in Gujarat, he said the port fell under the jurisdiction of the Kandla Port Trust which had decided to develop it on its own. To another question, Mr. Vasan said the modernisation process of Dhubri Port in Assam at a cost of Rs.35 crore had started and the entire work would be completed in three years.

He said Pachughat in Dhubri had been selected as the location for setting up a permanent terminal with shore facilities and the land acquisition process was under way through the Assam Government. In reply to a supplementary, the Minister said India had an inland water transit protocol with Bangladesh and both countries had now four ports of call. India had requested Bangladesh to set up two more ports of call, one each in both the nations, for increasing waterways transportation facilities, he added.

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