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The ICTT Vallarpadam - A business perspective

The ICTT in Cochin is becoming a reality soon after having been on drawing board of Govt of India for over 2 decades. The close proximity of Cochin Port to east-west trade routes gives her a geographic advantage over other ports.

Jul 26, 2010, 12.46 AM IST
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The International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) in Cochin is becoming a reality soon after having been on the drawing board of the Government of India for over two decades. The close proximity of the Cochin Port to the east-west trade routes gives her a geographic advantage over other Indian ports. Despite such a locational advantage the potential of the port is yet to be fully leveraged. In an era of containerisation, this resulted in the emergence of transshipment hubs like Colombo and Salalah, leading to additional handling and higher transportation costs which made Indian goods less competitive overseas as compared to China, Vietnam and South East Asian countries.

The commissioning of the ICTT and the consequent calls of mother vessels to it will make the markets closer and cheaper for the Indian importer and exporter by avoiding a foreign transshipment location. Moreover, the inventory carrying costs of the Indian trade will also be positively impacted by the commissioning of the ICTT. A transshipment hub within the country will give importers and exporters alternative solutions to moving their cargo at lower costs. The trade can now choose from road, rail, coastal and inland waterways - an inter-modal transport mix best suited to their requirement of cost and time.

The Cochin Port is an all weather port, unlike most Indian Ports, and is not affected even by the vagaries of the monsoon. She is also a 24x7 port as the tidal variations are insignificant. This is a tremendous advantage to the vessel operators as they will be able to work their berthing windows without fail. Moreover, the ICTT will have a draft of 14.5 meters which will, with the latest generations of STS cranes in support, facilitate the handling of the largest container vessels afloat on date. The productivity at the ICTT will compare with the best in the world with the deployment of the new generation cranes.

The ICTT will provide varied opportunities for entrepreneurship. They are related to development of Container Freight Station (CFS), Inland Container Depot (ICD) water transportation (Ro-Ro, etc.), road transportation, warehousing/logistics centres and private rail transportation. While a CFS is in the immediate vicinity of the port, an ICD is a 'dry port' located in the hinterland. The cargo is 'worked' in the CFS or ICD.


Warehousing, value addition to cargo and bonding of consignments is the major activity in a CFS and ICD, under the supervision of Customs. The CFS and ICD also provides facilities for storage of laden and empty containers as well as modern equipment for handling containers and cargo.

The biggest challenge in Kerala would be to provide innovative solutions for warehousing cargo. With a high percentage of land under human habitation and the consequent high cost of land, the utilization of available space becomes integral to any viable business proposition. The ICTT will be commissioned with Ro-Ro terminals for transportation of containers from and to the Willingdon Island and Bolgatty. Besides being an alternative route for the southern reaches of Kerala, water transportation will provide a Greener and cheaper alternative to surface transportation.

The 'river-sea' barge is the future for Kerala to link the coastal regions of the State such as Quilon, Calicut and Cannanore and the Inland Waterway Terminals of the IWAI along the National Waterway 3. The investment climate in Kerala has been stymied by the experiences of the past. The development of the ICTT and attendant infrastructure has a natural 'spin-off' benefit for the State of Kerala - it provides an opportunity to the State to showcase an 'image makeover'. An improved image of Kerala as an investment destination will attract additional investments and generate employment to meet the aspirations of the educated and attitudinally well aligned youth.

(Till recently, Mr Joseph was general manager, DP World Cochin. The views expressed are personal)

Also Read

ICTT to focus on attracting Chinese tourists

ICTT leads in container handling efficiency in South: DP World

ICTT's construction work begins

ICTT will be a reality by 2009 end

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