Steps taken to develop non-major ports to spur coastal cargo shipping

Updated - June 11, 2024 08:34 pm IST

Published - June 11, 2024 08:23 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Considering the growing importance of cargo movement by sea, the Kerala Maritime Board (KMB) has initiated steps to develop non-major ports in the State, Ports Minister V.N. Vasavan informed the Assembly on Tuesday.

The government has already set up berths and cranes required for cargo transportation at the Kollam, Beypore, Azhikkal, and Vizhinjam ports.

A sum of ₹11.8 crore has been sanctioned for increasing the draft of the Beypore port and the Harbour Engineering department will coordinate the work. In the first phase, the draft will be increased to 5.5 metres and subsequently to eight metres.

A 101-metre-long berth has been constructed at the Kollam port under the Central Government’s Sagarmala project. The construction of the administrative block and gate complex is being completed for Kollam to get the integrated check-post (ICP) status, says the Minister.

Central agencies have assessed the infrastructure development work. The ICP process will be completed after getting the necessary approval of the Central government.

In addition to the existing cranes in Kollam, it has been decided to procure stand-by cranes. The Centre for Management Studies has been entrusted to conduct a preliminary study for the construction of a multi-purpose berth at the Ponnani port. A detailed project report (DPR) will be prepared based on its report.

In addition, security arrangements and ancillary facilities are being arranged at the minor ports to obtain the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code.

Steps are being taken to deepen the shipping channel at the Azhikkal port. A coastal shipping service was operational until recently, connecting the Kollam, Azhikkal, and Beypore ports. However, the service was discontinued after it became unprofitable. Now, the Ports department has decided to rope in an agency to conduct a study and submit a report on making the shipping service profitable, the Minister said.

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