Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Feb 17, 2005
Logistics - Shipping
Vallarpadam first global hub terminal: PM
V. Sajeev Kumar
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the Shipping Minister, Mr T.R. Baalu, applauding the exchange of documents between Dr Jacob Thomas, Kochi Port Chairman, and Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayeen, Executive Chairman of PCTZ, UAE, for the proposed ICTT at Vallarpadam, in Kochi on Wednesday. K.K. Mustafah
Kochi , Feb. 16
WITH the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, laying the foundation stone for the Rs 2,118-crore Vallarpadam International Container Transhipment Terminal at Kochi on Wednesday, the decade-old project moved closer to reality.
The Prime Minister said the terminal would act as a gateway to the world as it would place the country's exports, particularly from South India, at par in logistics competitiveness with their global counterparts.
"This ceremony of laying the foundation stone is the first step in realising a decade-old expectation of a community focussing on seafaring activities and depending on them for creation of large indirect employment, among other benefits," he said.
Describing it as the first global hub terminal, Dr Singh said it has immense potential to spin off effects through direct terminal related employment and indirectly through activities such as road, transport, warehousing, repairs, training and related activities.
The project is expected to provide the backbone for and accelerate six other maritime related projects which include the Rs 1,600-crore LNG terminal, the Rs 1,510-crore port-based special economic zone, the Rs 315-crore International Ship Repair complex and the Rs 720-crore SBM for Kochi Refineries Ltd. There is also a proposal to create an international marina at Kochi.
The Union Government recognises the crucial role that the Kochi port can generate employment and ensure balanced regional development. It is providing financial aid to these projects, road connectivity to the port from the national highways and rail connectivity, said Dr Singh.
The Prime Minister said his Government was giving special attention to infrastructure development, including ports by setting up a Cabinet committee to facilitate greater flow of investments.
There is need for a co-ordinated development of major and minor ports. The Shipping Ministry's proposal to provide financial aid for the development of minor ports will be considered, Dr Singh said.
Describing the foundation function as a "second revolution in the Indian maritime sector," the Union Shipping Minister, Mr T. R. Baalu, said the economy would definitely get a boom once the terminal becomes fully operational.
He said the shipping sector had witnessed an impressive growth of 10.8 per cent in handling capacity in the last eight months by handing 311 million tonnes against 284 million tonnes last year.
The average output per day also increased from 8,592 tonnes to 8,830 tonnes. Turnaround of vessels in 12 major ports has been reduced to 3.38 hours from 3.48.
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, PCTZ, UAE, said Dubai Ports had outlined an investment of $20 million in the project to make Kochi a major global centre in the region. The setting up of this terminal of international significance is the "right project in right place and in right time," he said.
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