Shreyas Shipping and Logistics has launched a feeder service linking Kochi and Nhava Sheva. The newly-acquired OEL Kochi, on its maiden trip, berthed at the International Container Transshipment Terminal here last week. The vessel has a GRT of 21,339 and can carry 1,725 TEUs of cargo.

The feeder service will see the operation of two vessels, OEL Shreyas being the second vessel, with weekly calls at the ICTT with the route running from ICTT via Tuticorin, Mundhra, Hazira and Nhava Sheva.

The introduction of OEL Kochi willimprove coastal tonnage and aid the ICTT in transshipment business. Its introduction has pushed up tonnage on the West Coast by 22 per cent.

The introduction of the new feeder service substantially improves ICTT’s connectivity to most ports on the West Coast of India, making it a hub for transshipment.

The fortunes of ICTT have been boosted by the delays experienced in traditional centres like Nhava Sheva and Chennai, prompting mainline operators to switch to Kochi.

Industry sources said that the better connectivity and available tonnage between ICTT and ports on the West Coast, especially Nhava Sheva, have triggered discussions on feeder options between ICTT and other ports.

The situation is expected to improve further as Shreyas Shipping plans to link ports on the East Coast of the country with ICTT soon.

Chairman and managing director of Shreyas Shipping S. Ramakrishnan said that the Vallarpadam terminal offered a great opportunity for container feeder services and that the company planned to link all Indian ports with ICTT for transhipment.

Mr. Ramakrishnan said that Shreyas Shipping would take the fleet strength from the present five to seven and would invest Rs.100 crore to purchase two more vessels in a year. Chairman of Cochin Port Trust Paul Antony said that relaxation in the cabotage law would go a long way in improving business at the ICTT here because the Indian shipping industry did not have sufficient capacity to cater to the growth of the transshipment terminal.

Mr. Ramakrishnan said that Indian ship owners wanted the government to address their concerns.

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