The Cochin Port Trust (CPT), pursuing an aggressive marketing strategy, is targeting a variety of new cargo, including coffee, cotton, and petrochemicals, to augment volumes. The increasing preference for the coastal route is to the Kochi Port’s advantage even as there is a modal shift from road to coastal shipping, said CPT Chairperson M. Beena.
According to her, there was a proposal to move propylene in bullet tankers using roll-on roll-off service from Kochi to Dahej in Gujarat. Once the proposal materialises, there is a possibility of movement of more than a lakh tonne of the cargo a year. The CPT marketing team is actively pursuing movement of coffee, maize, and plywood in containers from Kushalnagar and Mysore regions in Karnataka to Kochi, taking advantage of the coastal service between Azhikal port and Kochi.
The efforts of the port marketing team had met with commendable success last year when a consignment of 7,474 tonnes of rice arrived at the International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) on Vallarpadam island in containers in early November last year. Till the end of March this year, 46,852 tonnes of rice meant for the Food Corporation of India (FCI) was handled at ICTT.
The success of the coastal movement is an indication that the modal shift from rail to coast was cost-effective even as the port marketing team is in touch with FCI for moving wheat from Punjab and Haryana to Kerala employing the coastal mode.
A total of 1,100 TEUs of cotton / raw cotton was moved to Kochi from Gujarat during 2017-18, and the volume went up to 10,720 TEUs during 2018-19.
In another development, Reliance Industries is moving plastic granules in containers from the company’s plants in Patalganga and Jamnagar in Gujarat to Kochi using the coastal mode. The monthly volume is 250 TEUs. In order to sustain the business, CPT has offered a warehouse facility for the materials.
The port authority is also hopeful that the natural gas pipeline project will be completed this year, augmenting LNG volumes to 2.5 million tonnes a year. Similarly, the completion of the LPG storage facility on Puthuvype island will add another 4.1 million tonnes of cargo per year.