Nitin Gadkari Flags Off First Container Vessel at Tuticorin
Indian Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari Wednesday flagged off the maiden container mainline vessel at VoC Port (Tuticorin Port), opening direct shipping route to eastern countries.
Calling the step a "gamechanger in container traffic of South India", Gadkari said that Tuticorin has the potential to become a "major industrial hub".
At present containers from Tuticorin to Far East countries viz Malaysia, Singapore, China and Hong Kong are transited by the feeder vessels to Colombo where they are further connected to the mother vessel .
With Mainline call being done directly at Tuticorin, there will be saving on account of the transshipment cost. EXIM trade will benefit and there will be a saving of approximately 50 USD per container as handling of container at Colombo will not be required. This service will give benefit to the importers and exporters in terms of saving transshipment cost and transit time.
With the strategic location of the Port being so close to the East West Trade route and a draft of 16 m, the Port is poised to attract more mainline vessels and has the potential to become a transshipment hub of South India.
In the last four years, Tuticorin Port has made investments to the tune of INR 15 bln towards improvement of infrastructure with the focus to unlock efficiencies at the Port as well as add capacity to reduce logistics cost for EXIM and domestic trade under Sagarmala.
“In order to make the Tuticorin port a mainline port we have redesigned the development project of Rs 2000 Cr and now the deepening of the port would be done in less than INR 5 bln, after which all vessels with draft of 16 meters can call on the port.”, said the Minister.
“Tuticorin has huge potential to become a major industrial hub. We are planning to develop a 1000 acre industrial area similar to JNPT in this port. I would also like to reiterate that Tuticorin has been seen by customers as one of the most customer friendly port and trade in Tuticorin is very enterprising. Competitive Port tariff, improved infrastructure and customer friendly approach will make Tuticorin Port more reliable and competitive”, he added.