India to fund Cochin Port transshipment hub amid Sri Lanka crisis

Kochi, India - October 14, 2013: Two container ships berthed at the DP World-operated international container terminal in Kochi in the state of Kerala. Kochi was previously known as Cochin. DP World is a global leader in container terminal operations and has large investments in ports along the Indian coastline.

The Indian Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) has agreed to fund a Rs 300 crore ($38.8 million) programme to deepen the channel of Cochin Port – bolstering its economic position by taking advantage of the congestion crisis in Sri Lanka.

Following the economic and political turmoil and reports of congestion at Colombo Port, the MoPSW has anticipated an increase in transshipment operations at Cochin Port, India’s only international container transhipment terminal (ICTT).

The move to deepen the channel from 14.5 to 18 meters is part of intentions to cut India’s dependence on Colombo to send and receive container cargo.

According to statistics made available by Cochin Port, the transshipment volume at the ICTT has already increased to 13,609 TEU in March 2022 compared to 8,394 TEU the previous year due to the ongoing crisis.

The port authority reported that deepening the channel can be implemented quickly to further capitalise on the opportunity, while an overall capacity expansion might take longer.

Looking at the future, the port authority plans to deepen the channel to 20 meters.

In addition, the Cochin Port Authority has shifted to a cargo-based discount scheme in vessel-related charges for ships calling at ICTT.

The new discount scheme is aimed at supporting ad-hoc calls made by mainline ship operators at ICTT by skipping Colombo, which were not eligible for the rebate under the earlier scheme.

Last year, the Port of Cochin was added as call in a Maersk’s weekly service allowing customers to reach global markets directly without transshipping at the Port of Colombo.

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