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Kerala Govt to float co for development of Vizhinjam port

Our Bureau

The Government has held discussions with seven Indian companies and four foreign firms. The plan is to reclaim about150 acres from the sea for the implementation of the project.

Thiruvananthapuram , July 7

THE Kerala Government is planning to float a registered company for the development of the proposed international container transhipment terminal at Vizhinjam near here.

The company is designed to mobilise funds, including from non-resident Indians, for the project and discussions in this regard are on with the Chief Minister, according to Mr. M.V. Raghavan, Minister for Ports and Co-operation.

The Minister, who just returned from a tour abroad scouting for investments, said the Vizhinjam project had elicited keen interest from port authorities in Malta, London, France, Germany, the Netherlands and South Africa. The project, estimated to cost Rs 4,500 crore, will need an investment of Rs 1,300 crore in the first phase.

He said the Government had already held discussions with seven Indian companies and four foreign firms, which had submitted expressions of interest. The plan is to reclaim about150 acres from the sea for the implementation of the project.

Referring to the efforts to develop a similar terminal at Vallarpadom near Kochi, Mr Raghavan said Vizhinjam offered a far better option for the investors. Unlike the Vizhinjam harbour, which has a natural depth of 24 metres, the Vallarpadom site has a low draught of nine metres, necessitating continuous dredging, he noted.

Meanwhile, the Ports Department will sign a memorandum of understanding with Mumbai-based Eeco group within the next couple of days for the development of a recreational harbour at Alappuzha, according to department officials.

The Mumbai group is teaming with a Belgium company for the execution of the project, which is estimated to cost Rs 300 crore.

However, the department is riding rough weather in the case of the Rs 1,750-crore Azhikkal port development with only one of the four companies, which had originally expressed interest in the project, remaining in the fray.

Out of the four companies, two had backtracked in the early stages itself, leaving the Singapore-based Antara Koh and the Sharjah-based Universal Lubricants in contention. The Singapore company, too, withdrew from the scene later.

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