The Cochin Port Trust has fine tuned bulk cargo handling operations of its container handling operations from quays 8 and 9 berths, the expansive open storage facility and rail rake sidings of which are now available for general cargo.

Port Trust sources said that the Southern Railways had partnered with them to facilitate faster evacuation of cargo from the storage facilities within the wharves. Delivery through barges for inland water transport has also started and initial reports are encouraging.

It was as part of the port authority's efforts that the Ernakulam wharf of the Port Trust was fully occupied by three vessels berthed at quays 5, 8 and 9. Vessels mv Heron, carrying 27,000 tonnes of shredded scrap; mv Santana, carrying 18,000 tonnes of coal and mv Jindal Manjula, carrying 2,775 tonnes of pipes berthed at the wharf earlier this week.

Vessels expected

More vessels, carrying general cargo items like industrial salt, sulphur and pipes are expected later this month.

The port authority has also invited bids for mechanisation of quays 8 and 9, which have 12.5-m draft for handling dry bulk cargo, and of quay 5 berth for setting up a bulk cement handling plant.

A statement said that the port authority was procuring cargo handling equipment to facilitate higher productivity and faster turnaround. A total of 12 stevedoring companies are now available at the port and more are registering.

The port authority is also holding regular meetings with vessel agents, stevedores and labour unions to improve the performance on the cargo handling front.

According to the Port Trust, cargo volume is expected to grow 12 per cent this year, thanks largely to the efforts being made to increase efficiency.

The renewed efficiency measures include zero waiting for berthing for dry bulk/break bulk cargo; availability of 12.5-m draft; expansive open storage facility adjacent to the berth; paved surface for efficient storage; full rake rail siding at the storage area; augmented rail infrastructure for speedy evacuation of cargo; covered storage area and facility for delivery through barges.

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