Prime Minister likely to inaugurate project in August
KOCHI: The International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT) project reached two milestones here on Saturday with the arrival of six rubber-tyred gantry cranes, the first of a batch of 15, to be deployed for yard operations; and completion of all the 11 bridges for the National Highway connectivity for the prestigious project.
The completion of the road connectivity is the more significant of the two, the road connectivity being central to the project's proposed soft launch in July.
Cochin Port Trust sources said that ICTT was expected to be inaugurated some time in August by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The State government is likely to make a formal request to the Prime Minister in this regard, it is learnt.
The current container handling operations at the Rajiv Gandhi terminal is likely to be shifted to Vallarpadam in July.
The road connectivity project, being executed by National Highways Authority of India at a revised cost of Rs. 872 crore, links Vallarpadam to Kalamassery on National Highway 47 over 17.2 km of difficult terrain. Contract for the work was awarded in May 2007 and the two-lane road will be fully ready by July.
The importance of the occasion on Saturday was highlighted by the presence of the Prime Minister's Principal Secretary T.K.A. Nair, who along with Chairman of NHAI Brajeshwar Singh; Chairman of Cochin Port Trust N. Ramachandran; Principal Secretary (PWD) government of Kerala Tom Jose and District Collector M. Beena inspected the progress of work between Vallarpadam and Kalamassery.
The gantry cranes have been manufactured at a cost of $1.7 million-a-piece and transported in fully assembled condition.
According to information from the India Gateway Terminal Limited (IGTL) , which is promoting Vallarpadam project and is part of Dubai Ports World, rubber-tyred gantry cranes are new generation ones and the first eco-friendly units being rolled out from the Dubai company TGPC.
These cranes are 30 per cent more energy-efficient compared to conventional ones.
Another batch of cranes, this time from China, are expected to arrive here on May 21 and the ship-to-shore cranes are expected here in the first week of June.
Work on the physical infrastructure for the ICTT project has made progress in keeping with the time schedule.
According to IGTL sources, dredging work for the project was completed in April and 450 metres of the 600-metre deck has already been cast.
The Cochin Port Trust said that dredging for the navigational channel to attain a draft of 14.5 metres is nearing completion.
The physical progress was 76 per cent at the end of April. The capital dredging work is expected to be completed by July.