This is to divert 20 to 40 per cent of freight from roads

Minister for Ports K. Babu has said that the government intends promoting coastal shipping in a big way so as to divert nearly 20 to 40 per cent of the present freight movement from roads through the sea.

As part of promoting the same, the government has decided to provide a subsidy of Rs.1 for every one tonne of cargo moved through the coastal shipping programme.

“Kerala becomes the first State in the country to offer such a subsidy for promoting coastal shipping.”

The Minister said this while addressing a gathering at the Kollam Port after inaugurating the dredging work to increase the draft of the harbour from the present 6.5 meters to 9 meters.

Bigger tonnage

He said the increase in draft would enable ships with bigger tonnage to enter the port. After Vizhinjam, the government gave importance for the development of the Kollam Port. An amount of Rs.5.7 crore had been allocated for the dredging work. Order had already been given for purchasing a container crane at a cost of Rs.12 crore for the Kollam Port.

A new tug was also being purchased at a cost of Rs.3.5 crore for the port. As part of the third phase development of the port, a cargo and passenger terminal would be constructed.

A proposal of Rs.20 crore for the purpose submitted by the Port Department was under the consideration of the government, he said. “I am confident that the proposal will obtain administrative sanction soon,” he said.

The function was presided over by P.K. Gurudasan, MLA.