Kollam Port Officer Captain Ashwin Pratap has said that steps are being taken to start container ship operations from the port in January.

Under the first phase, ships with a capacity of 150 containers will call at the port. These will be primarily river-sea vessels.

The move is to bring through such ships the containers meant for Kollam that at present arrive at the Kochi and Tuticorin ports, mainly those containing raw cashew.

Annually, more than 25,000 containers with raw cashew arrive in Kollam from the Kochi and Tuticorin ports. Cashew industrialists want Customs clearance facilities to be set up at the port. Steps were being taken for this in consultation with the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India, Captain Pratap said. The construction of the cement terminal in the port complex will begin in December. Captain Pratap said the apprehensions of the fishing community over pollution from the cement terminal had been adequately addressed. There would be no pollution and the terminal would be commissioned in January 2014.A crane from Germany with a capacity of 100 tonnes would be commissioned at the port in January.