KOCHI: If everything goes as planned, Kochi will soon have 2,600 acres of industrial land, that too one kilometre off the shore. The land is being developed as part of the Cochin outer harbour, a major expansion project of the Cochin Port Trust.
The outer harbour project involves the construction of two breakwaters on both sides of the approach channel of the port, off Puthuvypeen in north and off Fort Kochi in the south, with associated land masses on both sides.
The land developed on the north side will be exclusively used for shipping activities while the land on the south side will be used by the Navy. The Navy will also invest in the development of the land.
“The land to be developed on the north side will have an area of 2,600 acres. It will be used for a setting up an industrial terminal, ideally an oil trading hub,” Cochin Port Trust chairman Paul Antony said. The proposed complex will be able to process a wide variety of crude,” he added.
It is pointed out the proposed outer harbour will be deep enough to provide berthing for large product-carriers of up to the capacity of 1,30,000 tonnes. Big product tankers can load different products in different compartments, and can unload petrol at one location and diesel at another, overcoming the difficulties caused by small receiving terminals.
The business of storing oil flourished during 2008-2009, with international giants earning sizeable profits by sitting on oil tanks. However, the oil trade business in India is yet to mature. Antony said the port doesn’t look for private participation for the construction of the breakwaters, for which the estimated cost is Rs 1,600 crore.
“The Navy has immense interest in the project and has agreed to make investment for developing the land on the southern breakwater. For the northern side, fund will be raised by leasing the land proposed to be reclaimed.
The port has already invited expression of interests for setting up an export-oriented oil refinery/trading hub in the proposed outer harbour,” Antony said.
“The project will help the Navy to strengthen its presence in the Indian Ocean. The Navy has also secured a no-objection certificate for developing around 650 acres of land and about 4,000 metres of berth along the southern breakwater off Fort Kochi. A one-kilometre long bridge connecting Fort Kochi with the reclaimed land is also included in the project. The bridge is likely to become a major tourist attraction of Kochi in the future,” he said.