Chennai: As the first container mainline vessel started its journey from the VOC Port (Tuticorin Port) in southern Thoothukudi district on Wednesday, the Tuticorin port signalled its preparedness to compete with the big regional transshipment hub - Colombo, in handling mainline ships.
Presently, containers from Tuticorin to Far East countries (Malaysia, Singapore, China and Hong Kong) are transited by feeder vessels to Colombo where they are further connected to the mother vessel. But with the mainline ships calling directly at Tuticorin, there will be saving on transshipment costs. EXIM trade will benefit and there will be a saving of approximately US$50 per container, as this would dispense with the use of Colombo in handling containers.
As the port is strategically located in proximity to the East West Trade route and has a draft of 16 m, the VOCPT is poised to attract more mainline vessels and has the potential to become the transshipment hub of South India.
In the last four years, Tuticorin Port has made investments to the tune of Rs.1,500 crore 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.
Flagging off the first container mainline vessel from Tuticorin port through video conferencing from Delhi, Union Shipping, Road Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, said this will be a game changer in container traffic of south India.
"Tuticorin has huge potential to become a major industrial hub. We are planning to develop a 1,000 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 ports 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.
Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, who also joined the flag off ceremony from here, said today's historic mainline service to Far East countries would boost exports in Tamil Nadu.
"The initiative taken by the port will support overall economic gr-owth in the State," he said union Minister of State for Finance & Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan and Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Mansukh Mandaviya, too, joined the function through a video link....