Zhen Hua from China to be first cargo vessel to call at Vizhinjam port

Published - September 06, 2023 08:02 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Project cargo vessel called Zhen Hua 15.

Project cargo vessel called Zhen Hua 15. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A project cargo vessel called Zhen Hua 15 – a general cargo built in 1989 and now sailing under the flag of Hong Kong – has embarked on its maiden voyage to the coast of Kerala from the East China Sea with one quay crane and two yard cranes fabricated in China for the Vizhinjam international seaport. The ship, however, is expected to call at the under-construction Vizhinjam port after unloading another consignment meant for the Mundra port in Gujarat.

The freighter began its voyage on August 31, a trip from Shanghai in China to unload project cargo that will be used to offload the containers at the Vizhinjam port.

Port authorities here had placed an order for eight quay cranes (rail-mounted) and 24 yard cranes (cantilever rail-mounted gantry) to a company named M/s ZPMC (Zhenhua Port Machinery Company) based in Shanghai, China. The Kerala government has plans to bring the first vessel to the under-construction port by September to honour its promise to the people earlier.

For the berthing of the project cargo vessel and unloading of project cargo, a berth length of 275 m has to be ensured out of the total 800 m required for phase 1 of the project. Similarly, a corresponding length of 2,400 m of breakwater also needs to be completed out of the total of 2,960 m. The work on the required length of breakwater and berth for receiving the project cargo vessel is still under way.

Sea route map of the cargo vessel.

Sea route map of the cargo vessel.

The maiden vessel to Vizhinjam has a carrying capacity of 46,671 tonne DWT (dead weight tonnage), while her current draught is reported to be 9 m. Its length overall (LOA) is 233.3 m and width is 42 m. However, for the berthing of mother vessels, a 400-m-long berth is required as the length of such vessels is 400 m.

“We need to ensure over 400 m for berthing such mother vessels. When we commission an 800-m berth in phase 1, we will be able to berth a mother vessel and a feeder vessel at the same time time along the 800-m berth,” said a source.

Though the first lot of consignment is expected to be delivered in the first week of October, it will take a few more months to deliver the remaining seven quay cranes and 22 yard cranes. The project cargo vessel is sailing at an average speed of 10.2 knots and the projected time to reach the destination may vary based on the sea conditions, especially in the Indian Ocean where weather systems have been forming since September.

Meanwhile, the overall progress of the Vizhinjam under-construction port is 61.67%, while the Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ) is hopeful of completing the much-touted and delayed international container transshipment port at Vizhinjam by May 2024.

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