The Union Ministry of Shipping has approved a proposal by Cochin Shipyard Ltd.to take over the ship repair workshop and dry-docking facility of Cochin Port Trust on Willingdon Island and develop it at an estimated cost of Rs.750 crore.
Minister for Shipping G.K. Vasan made the announcement at the sectoral session on port development and logistics, organised as part of the Emerging Kerala 2012 Summit here on Friday. Later at a brief function, Mr. Vasan handed over the letter of approval to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who gave it to chairman of Cochin Port Trust Paul Antony and chairman and managing director of shipyard K. Subramanyam.
An official said the Port Trust had invited bids from competent parties to take over its ship repair facility on the southern end of Willingdon Island, on a 45-acre plot. The CSL remained the only technically qualified bidder and the bid was forwarded to the Union Ministry for approval.
Mr. Vasan said the State should utilise its skilled manpower to make use of the opportunities in ship repair.
Mr. Vasan announced that the Kadalur Point and Vizhinjam lighthouses had been included on the list of historically important sites. These lighthouses will be developed as tourism centres.
He said the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Light Ships was in the process of implementing a scheme to restore and maintain lighthouses that were of heritage value. These were points of tourist attraction now, he said.
He said the Shipping Ministry would extend all help to Kerala in its effort to develop maritime infrastructure. A technical committee appointed by the Ministry had completed a study on making the Azheekkal port in Kannur district a major port, the Minister said. The proposal was under the active consideration of the Ministry.
The Union Minister said the recent exemption given to the Vallarpadam International Container Transhipment Terminal would help the terminal double its traffic from the current level to 1 million tonnes over the next two years. Being close to the international sea route, the ICTT will ably serve the Indian export-import business, he added.
The Minister said the Indian Maritime University would continue to upgrade the facilities on the Kochi campus in a way that Kerala would be able to cater to the need for trained seafarers and other maritime personnel. Kerala has played a big role in the maritime activities with its major port and the ship repair facilities as well as institutions of maritime education.