Kochi: A new state-of-the-art international cruise terminal will come up at Kochi Port by November 2019, with the Cochin Port Trust initiating the tendering process. “The terminal building with approximate area of 2,253 metre square will come up inside Ernakulam wharf area. It can handle cruise ship as long as 420 metres. The present Samudrika cruise terminal cannot take ships longer than 250 metres. The actual construction works will start in the first week of May and the Rs 25 crore project will be completed in 18 months. We’ve already received a grant of Rs 21 crore from the Union tourism ministry,” said A.V. Ramana, deputy chairman, Cochin Port Trust.
The new terminal will have all connected facilities including counters for e-visa and e-landing permits and over 25 immigration counters. “We’ve introduced E-visa for easy emigration. The terminal will meet all functional and service requirements as per the Standard Operating Procedures issued by the Ministry of Tourism,” the official said. Meanwhile, the construction of an International Ship Repair Facility (ISRF) is also progressing and expected to be completed by end of next financial year. The project to set up the facility on the western side of Wellingdon Island along the Mattancherry channel was earlier awarded to Cochin Shipyard and the foundation stone laid on November 17 last.
Port Trust is profitable after 10 years of losses
The Cochin Port Trust registered an operating surplus of Rs 141.69 crore for the financial year 2017-18 after making losses continuously for the last 10 years. The tentative operational income for 2017-18 was estimated at Rs 509 crore, enabling the Port to register a net surplus of Rs 4 crore. The operational loss for 2016-17 was Rs 27.17 crore and that for 2015-16 was Rs 40.52 crore respectively. The port also recorded the highest annual cargo growth rate (16.51 per cent) when compared with all other major ports in the country when it achieved a cargo throughput of 29.14 million metric tonnes.
“During 2017-18, the Port handled a total traffic of 29.14 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT) as against 25.01 MMT during 2016-17 registering a growth of 16.51 per cent. The container traffic too grew impressively as it handled 5.55 lakhs TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) in 2017-18 as against 4.91 lakhs TEUs during 2016-17, registering a growth of 13 per cent,” said P. Raveendran, chairman, Cochin Port Trust. The Petrol, Oil and Lubricants handling imp-roved from 15.79 MMT during 2016-17 to 18.66 MMT during 2017-18, registering a growth rate of 18.17 per cent. The port also attracted river sand and Illmenite sand vessels during the current year and handled 1.33 lakhs and 0.37 lakhs respectively during 2017-2018.