Container ships will start arriving at Kollam port by December second week, making it an important terminal in South Kerala. According to officials, all measures are being taken to make Kollam a busy a port and Port Department will ensure all facilities needed for the transport.
The ships operated by SS Maritime carrying tiles, cement, fertilizer and sugar will be the first to dock at Kollam and the Thoothukudi-based company can use Kollam as a central hub for its commercial cargo operations in the future.
They also have plans to transport cargo from Kollam to Kolkota and currently there are orders from a couple of other places.
Earlier experts had pointed out the delay in emigration clearance as the main glitch in starting cargo operations when the department initiated talks with Lakshadweep government in a bid to explore the possibilities of cargo operations and cruise tourism between the island and Kollam. Since the district is a cashew hub, the port has the potential to become the most-preferred terminal for the transport of cashew, sand and petroleum products among others.
Since Kollam is the nearest city to Minicoy Island, the authorities are also considering the possibilities to start tourism services. Currently Beypore and Kochi share the passenger flow to the island and if Kollam can start one, it can draw a major chunk of islanders who travel to Kerala for education and medical treatments on a regular basis. In order to attract more traffic the sector experts had recommended to revise the port fee along with ensuring permanent facilities for immigration, plant quarantine, piloting, refuelling and warehousing.
Fisheries Minister J.Mercykutty Amma, who visited the port to assess the current facilities, said attempts are on to maintain a steady traffic to the port.
Company representative Mahadevan, Kerala Maritime Board chairman V.J.Mathew, board member V.Manilal, CEO K.R.Vinod and Port Officer Abraham.V.Kuriakose were also present at the meeting.