Chief Minister Oommen Chandy launched the Coastal Shipping Project (CSP) at the Kollam Port on Saturday.Shreyas Shipping & Logistics Ltd, a Mumbai-based leading shipping and logistics providers, part of the Transworld Group, the container ship OEL Victory was given the green signal to unload a consignment of floor tiles and marble slabs brought in 25 containers, to mark the inaugural launching its coastal shipping service from VALLARPADAM (ICTT) TO kOLLAM PORT
The vessel MV OEL Victory in Kollam, Chairman and managing director of the company S. Ramakrishnan said on Friday. “The service will be exclusively for Kerala.
'We are confident that the new service will boost the coastal trade within the state,” he said.
Shreyas also convened its board meeting in Kochi on Friday for the first time as a gesture of its interest in strengthening the shipping links in the state. Shreyas has deployed all of its six vessels for coastal trade in India.
In his address, the Chief Minister said passenger ships would start operating from the Kollam Port this year. He said water resources should be tapped for freight and passenger movement to hasten development of the State. “As of now, we have not tapped even 5 per cent of the State’s potential,” he said.He said the Kollam-Kottapuram National Waterway-3 would be commissioned on January 1. Work on a small portion of the waterway at Chavara remained to be completed. The State government had agreed to meet the expenditure so as to enable the commissioning of the waterway at the earliest.
Presiding over the function, Minister for Ports K. Babu said the CSP was a dream project of the State. Kerala is the first State in the country to offer a subsidy for freight transport through the CSP, he said.
The Kerala government has chalked out an action plan to shift 20 per cent of the cargo movement through the roads to coastal shipping by 2015. Currently, 7 per cent of the total cargo movement is through coastal shipping.
K Babu, minister for shipping and ports, said the government would develop six minor ports to enhance coastal shipping services in the first phase. These include Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram district, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kodungalloor in Thrissur district, Beypore in Kozhikode district and Azheekal in Kasargode district. Better proximity to the international marine route gives an advantage to these ports, he told Business Standard.
At present, coastal cargo movement is being carried out through four ports - Vizhinjam, Kollam Beypore and Azheekal. The government will soon prepare a detailed plan for renovation and modernisation of these ports in order to berth large vessels. It proposes to involve private players for the development of these ports and allied services.
Stating that the Cabinet had decided to provide incentive to the shipping companies that provide service on the coastal route, he said these companies get Re 1 per one tonne cargo to transport 1 km and Re 1 for each passenger for 1 km.
The Kollam Port will be further developed under the public-private partnership programme. In order to encourage building of ships suitable for coastal shipping services and for promotion of coastal shipping, the government had constituted the Coastal Shipping Promotion Fund and allocated Rs. 3 crore, he said.