Why Kollam Port stands to gain from Lakshadweep’s big tourism plans

Chowgule 8, a cargo ship carrying foodgrains from the Food Corporation of India, unloading the containers at the Kollam port on Saturday.  

With the Lakshadweep administration set to turn the archipelago into a top-rated tourist destination, Kollam Port stands to gain a lot due to its strategic location. The shortest sea route from Minicoy Island to mainland India, the port has the potential to become a centre of cruise tourism and cargo movement once it becomes fully operational.

Located around 200 nautical miles from Minicoy, it can function as a major transit point and transform Kollam into a bustling seaport city. "Since the biggest eco-tourism project announced by the administration is coming up in Minicoy Island, Kollam Port will be an ideal choice for tourism and cargo operations. If they are planning to develop the island into a global destination within a couple of years, they can't ignore Kollam Port," says an official.

The Lakshadweep administration had expressed its willingness to start passenger services to the port after it was commissioned in 2007 and multiple delegations from the island have visited the port over the years. At present, the port has an exclusive wharf for passenger vessels, while various works are progressing towards completion of the terminal.

Though Kochi and Beypore ports have been operating passenger services to the island, they lack Kollam Port's proximity. Monsoon often hits sea connectivity from Beypore and a large number of islanders depend on the State for higher education and healthcare.

"South Kerala offers a range of options in both sectors and the islanders will definitely prefer this route to save travelling hours,” says the official.

Negligible traffic

With only a handful of ships calling at the port since its commissioning, the project has seen negligible traffic so far. Since Kollam is the hub of cashew industry, cargo vessels with raw cashew nut (RCN) containers were expected arrive shortly, but the port development did not progress much during the early years. While the passenger-cum-cargo terminal and Dhwani tugboat were commissioned in 2020, the latest additions to the port include mechanical workshop, store and mobile crane shelter.

According to authorities, the main glitch facing the port to become functional is the delay in setting up Immigration Check Point (ICP). The Ministry of Home Affairs had instructed the State government in June 2020 to arrange the physical and electronic infrastructure required for the ICP.


"All requirements, including the six-counter facility, will be arranged soon. We can handle crew change with a single counter, but they are insisting on six. Even after we arrange that, they may come up with new requirements and this delay is quite unreasonable. Since Kollam Port can be a threat to the business interest of many, we cannot ignore the allegation that a strong lobby has been trying to sabotage the project," the official added.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 2:58:00 PM |

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