K. A. Martin
Cochin Port Trust focussing on attracting bulk cargo
KOCHI: Work on the Mattancherry wharf, part of which was damaged in rain in November last year, is expected to begin in October based on a design from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai.
The rebuilding of the key wharf dedicated to bulk cargo will form a part of a drive by the Cochin Port Trust to focus on bulk cargo as the container transhipment operations will shift out of its premises once the Vallarpadam International Container Transshipment Terminal is commissioned.
Quay 4 berth of the Mattancherry wharf had collapsed in heavy rain and the Port Trust had appointed a team of experts to look into the incident and to provide a plan for its rebuilding. The report from the expert team has been submitted to the Port Trust.
The Port Trust is in the process of finalising tender documents for the purpose, said its Chairman N. Ramachandran. The rebuilding work would also have to be approved by the Board of Trustees and once the approval was received bids would be invited, he said.
The Port Trust plans to implement the revamping work in two phases.
The first phase, which is expected to begin in October, is estimated to cost around Rs.60 crores.
The rebuilding work is expected to take up to a year.
In the first phase, 250-metre quay length would be achieved to service bulk cargo vessels. In the second phase, the quay length will be increased to 410 metres.
As part of the Port Trust's efforts to attract bulk cargo, the draft for the berth will also be increased to 12.5 metres, Mr. Ramachandran said. He said that the Port was getting enquiries for more bulk cargo and diversification from the traditional cargo would be a major step for the Port.
The Port has handled a total of 36,19,223 tonnes of cargo during the current financial year. During the same period last year, the cargo throughput stood at 23,89,280 tonnes. For the whole of the last fiscal, the Port handled 1,39,38,241 tonnes of cargo in comparison to the 1,40,95,189 tonnes handled during 2004-05.