As the much-awaited International Container Transhipment Terminal project inches to completion, a high level review of the progress of the project was done here on Saturday in the presence of officials from the Union Shipping Ministry, led by A. P. V. N. Sarma, Secretary.
Connectivity projects for the project topped the agenda in the review meeting, attended by the Chairman of the Cochin Port Trust N. Ramachandran; S. I. Patel, Member Technical, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI); A. K. Mathur, chief general manager, NHAI; J. Akthar, general manager, NHAI; G. Kesavachandran, DGM, Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd; C. T. Abraham, project director, NHAI and Rema Devi, Deputy Collector, Ernakulam.
The meeting reviewed the progress made by the different agencies involved in the implementation of the transhipment terminal, rail connectivity, road connectivity and dredging of the navigational channel.
While there is only one month’s work left for the completion of the rail connectivity, the construction of the transhipment terminal facilities and the dredging work being carried out by the Cochin Port Trust are progressing as per schedule.
Mr. Sarma urged the NHAI to complete and make available at least a two-lane connectivity to Vallarpadam by March 31 next year.
Earlier, the Shipping Secretary visited the transhipment terminal site at Vallarpadam, the construction sites of the NHAI and Puthuvypeen Port-Based Special Economic Zone where the construction of the LNG terminal is in progress.
Meanwhile, a press release from Cochin Port Trust said that the port trust and the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) signed an MoU for operating Ro Ro/Lo Lo (Roll On-Roll Off/Lift On-Lift Off) barge service for transportation of containers between Willingdon and Vallarpadam Islands.
Modern inland waterway terminals being established at Willingdon and Bolghatty to facilitate the service will help link all the 11 existing NW3 (National Waterway3) terminals from Kollam to Kottappuram with the new port logistic chain leading to Vallarpadam International Container Transhipment Terminal.
The MoU was signed at the administrative office of the IWAI in Noida by S. P. Gaur, Chairman, IWAI and the Port Trust Chairman.
As per the MoU, the port trust will provide the required land for the jetties and parking yards at the two terminals. The IWAI will finance the construction of the terminals comprising the jetties, parking yards and establish the road connectivity to the terminals, said the press release.
The modern terminals are designed to cater to both Ro Ro and Lo Lo vessels and to optimise the time of operation and enhance the transfer capacity of containers between Vallarpadam and Willingdon Islands.