The Centre is
making a fresh attempt to build a greenfield port and container transhipment
hub near Kanyakumari through the public, private, partnership (PPP) route.
V O Chidambaranar
Port Trust on Monday 22 Feb 21 sought expression of interest from port
developers and shipping lines to build the 6.5 million twenty-foot equivalent
units (TEU’s) capacity transhipment hub, according to a tender notice issued by
the state-owned port.
Potential bidders have time until March 20 to file their expression of
Ltd, a special purpose vehicle floated by V O Chidambaranar Port Trust, Chennai
Port Trust and Cochin Port Trust has been tasked with helming the new port
In July 2016, the
union cabinet accorded in-principle approval for building a new major port at
Enayam (westward to Coalchel and located between Helen Nagar and Melakurumbanai
village) in Kanyakumari in three phases with an investment of Rs 27,570 crores
to handle 127 million tonnes (mt) of cargo a year.
resistance from local fishermen groups, a new site closer to Kanyakumari,
nestled between Kovalam and Keelamanakudi villages, was identified.
As for the new site, no land acquisition is envisaged for port
The new site does
not have any fishermen villages; both Kovalam and Keelamanakudi villages are
about half a kilometer away from both sides. “There will be zero displacement;
nobody will be disturbed. Besides, no land acquisition is envisaged for port
construction,” said a government official briefed on the plan.
However, a port
consultant said the new site could suffer from viability issues because a similar
facility is being constructed by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd
(APSEZ) just a few kilometers away at Vizhinjam near Thiruvananthapuram in
Kerala. The new port near Kanyakumari is also a technically challenging
project, he said.
The Maritime India
Vision 2030, a ten-year blueprint drafted by the ministry of ports, shipping
and waterways, has suggested building another transhipment port in Kanyakumari
region by 2030 post stabilisation of Vizhinjam port and based on
techno-economic feasibility of the new port.
per cent of Indian cargo transhipment is handled by Indian ports
Only 25 per cent
of Indian cargo transhipment is handled by Indian ports resulting in $80-100
per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) higher cost to exporters and importers
for routing their containers through hub ports such as Colombo, Singapore and
The share of
Indian cargo transhipped in Indian ports should be raised to over 75 per cent
by 2030, the document said.
transhipment port such as the one planned at Vizhinjam acts like a hub. Smaller
feeder vessels bring cargo which then gets loaded onto larger ships for
transportation to final destinations. Larger vessels bring about economies of
scale and lower the cost of operations for shipping lines, translating into
lower freight rates for exporters and importers.