By admin       2017-04-25

Aim is to attract a part of cargo now handled at Colombo 25 April, 2017KOCHI, APRIL 24: The Cochin Port Trust proposes to offer special facilities to handle cotton in a bid to attract a part of this exim cargo now being handled at the neighbouring Colombo port.The idea is to make Kochi as the hub for cotton trade, said P Raveendran, who took over as the Chairman of the port recently.We have approached the Southern India Mills Association, Coimbatore, offering dedicated facilities to import, store and re-export cotton at the ICTT at Vallarpadam, he said.Petro tank farmsPreliminary talks with shippers are encouraging. The Customs bonded area and SEZ status of Vallarpadam terminal offer advantage to the cotton trade, he said in a conversation with BusinessLine. Matters regarding customs procedures and other issues will be discussed later.Right now, SIMA is bringing cotton in containers using the Colombo port as a hub. Kochi offers facilities that match international standards for import, warehousing and re-export of the commodity at comparable cost. If everything goes as per plan, the port expects to handle 30,000 TEUs of cotton in the current year, he saidAs part of its strategy to boost traffic, the port is also reaching out to companies in the petroleum sector to set up tank farms so as to expand the bunkering service. We are in the process of floating EOI offering facilities to set up tanks farms in the 24 acre land at Puthuvypeen, Raveendran said.Locational advantageThe availability of bunkering fuels at competitive rates in Kerala coupled with Kochi s locational advantage enabled the port to achieve a 22 per cent growth in bunkering services last year.The port expects the volume of steel and cement cargo to go up in coming months. JSW Steel which is bringing steel to southern States via coastal shipping has started using Kochi port. The volume is expected to be about one lakh tonnes in the current fiscal.Cement hubKochi is also fast emerging as a cement hub with Ambuja Cements, Ultra Tech Cements and Zuari Cements all having handling terminals with minimum guaranteed throughput of 0.3MTPA each. The construction of Penna Cements facility is nearing completion and the port is also in talks with other cement firms, including Saurasthra Cement.The Multi User Liquid Terminal (MULT), which is being jointly developed with IOC, is also expected to increase the port s traffic. The port has also plans to set up a foodgrain import terminal under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode for which EOI has been invited.Exceeds target Raveendran, who is bullish on Kochi port s future, said that the turbulent times are over and the port is expected to come out of the red this fiscal. CPT has been making losses in the last four years.Kochi is one of the few ports that surpassed the Shipping Ministry's traffic target by handling 25.01 million tonnes in the just concluded fiscal year. The record assumes significance as the port had been witnessing negative growth since 2009, he added.

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