The new shipyard and major port proposed by the Union Ministry of Shipping on the west coast of the country should be set up at Poovar in the capital district as it has significant advantages over other locations being considered, Shashi Tharoor, MP, has said.
The construction and development of a new shipyard at Poovar in conjunction with a new port of international standards would put the country in an enviable position and project it as a world maritime power, Dr. Tharoor said in a letter to Union Minister for Shipping, G. K. Vasan.
Poovar, south of the famed beach resort of Kovalam and Vizhinjam which is being developed as ICTT, had a natural deep draught of 25-30 meters that will enable big war ships, super tankers and cargo vessels to be built, berthed and repaired. With over two km of uninhabited beach available at Poovar, eviction, displacement or rehabilitation will not be a problem. There would be minimal environmental problems as well. The proximity to railway line, national highway, international airport, and the state capital are atractive advantages.
Drawing attention to the emerging international situation, he had pointed out to the predictions of the future of shipping at the global level, envisaged a ring-route around the globe on which vessels of 13,000–18,000 TEU capacity would ply. These vessels would require minimum water depths of 18 m. The large vessels would call only at a few selected ports lying close to this ring route. Dr. Tharoor said Poovar is the ideal place having all the above endowments to be developed as a futuristic shipyard and port of the country.
An integrated maritime logistical confluence comprising of a dry dock capable of handling large vessels now in service, ancillary major port, a ship designing centre for designing commercial ships, and a Maritime Academy for imparting training for providing professionals to maritime industry, all could be developed as an integrated maritime hub at Poovar. It would bring the reins of the maritime trade and port activities of Asian continent into India’s hands. He said this is significant because asno Indian port finds a listing among even the top 30 ports in the world.
The international sea route connecting the Persian Gulf and the Far -East passes very close to Poovar. The deviation required from the main route lines would be minimal as compared to other Indian locations. Dr. Tharoor said the soil condition at Poovar even on the coastline is hard enough to bear heavy structures and load, making it ideal for harbour construction.
The MP has pointed out that the proposed site is central to the Indian coastline and therefore, can cater to the needs of west and east coasts. Feeder services could be operated to Kochi, Tuticorn, Kolachal and all other ports. Rail/ road transport respectively, can be arranged in a cost-effective manner conjointly with the proposed Vizhinjam ICTTl. It is more feasible and profitable to the existing and proposed ports and logistical clusters within the Vizhinjam-Poovar deep sea belt as a marine hub and to the ports in proximity of the west and east coast of the country.
Poovar also offers 24-hour tussle free port operations 365 days a year, not many ports in the world can boast of. There is no extreme climatic conditions affecting safe anchorage or berthing Even now in distress situations, he said captains of passing ships seek shelter for their vessels at the existing minor port facility at Vizhinjam.
Poovar would be complimentary to Vizhinjam ICTT. The MP in his letter to Mr. Vasan has said that the shipyard with repair and bunkering facilities would be the most ideal place outside European Ports for the ships passing through the international route.