Staff Reporter

KOCHI: The Container Shipping Lines Association (India) has expressed concern at the delay in expanding container handling facilities in the country.

In a letter to the Union Ministry of Shipping and related offices, the association called for a re-examination of the present supply/demand situation for container terminals.

The association expressed anxiety over delays in acquisition of land that was reportedly delaying the International Container Transhipment Terminal project in Kochi. The delay in land acquisition also meant that the additional container terminal capacity was delayed, said the letter from the association.

The association expressed its understanding of the problems related to acquisition of land. However, the requirement for additional container handling capacity continued to grow.

If capacity building lags, it would be a drag on economic development.

The letter made it clear that the problems were prevalent not only in South India but also in most parts of the country where container terminals were operated.

The association expressed its readiness to assist in whatever way possible and said that it was of the view that the government also consulted the shipping lines on the latest views on development of traffic demand.

Reports, earlier, had indicated that the delay in acquisition of land for the road and rail connectivity to the Vallarpadam project site would delay the commissioning of the transhipment facility significantly.

Protests by evictees unsatisfied with the compensation packages has prevented the district administration from acquiring the land required for both rail and road links to the project site.

Earlier this month, the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry had expressed concern at the delay in the project as officially announced by the Industries Minister in the Assembly.

The chamber had appealed to the government to muster support from all sections of society to see that the land acquisition process was completed on time for the project to be commissioned as planned.