Kollam: The Kollam port that recently marked its entry on the international maritime map has something special for tourism enthusiasts – a trip to Lakshadweep and the Maldives.
Discussions are on for passenger services from the port and the first cargo ship to the Maldives will set off by September end. The port will also have Kollam-Tuticorin services soon, making the cheapest route for over 36,000 containers of cashew a year through sea.
The cargo handling charges can be narrowed with the new Tuticorin service in operation, saving up to Rs 20 cr per year. The new service will have nearly 500 ship movements a year carrying over 45,000 containers of cashew to and from Kollam. The cost cut has also been supported by the subsidy declared by the State Government, that is, Re 1 per tonne of cargo transported through water.
Work has commenced for online customs clearance and sales tax offices at the port. A quarantine facility and a cashew testing lab will also be set up at the port with the support of the Cashew Export Promotion Council. A passenger berth terminal has been proposed for Rs 20 crore and the tender works are being processed.
“The ships to the Maldives will be operated by September end or early October. Initially, the ships will carry break bulks of 300 tonnes each. The consignments will contain mainly food items and grocery. “There is a ‘monsoon ban’ on ships till September 15 and talks will be held to operate passenger services after the ban is lifted,” said Aswin Pratap, Port Officer, Kollam.
A new consignment carrying soda ash from Gujarat will dock at the port on Thursday. The raw material carried in the ship MV Suryamukhi is for soap manufacturing at Hindustan Unilever in Theni district of Tamil Nadu.