Soon, the International Container Transshipment Terminal at Vallarpadam will be equipped with high-end security devices. The authorities are learned to have initiated steps to install radioactive material detectors and vehicle scanners at the terminal.
The decision to install security devices gains significance in the wake of recent attempts to smuggle banned goods via Vallarpadam and apprehensions raised by the Ministry of Defence over the handling of containers without adequate security measures.
The Central Government is yet to issue a notification regarding the relaxation of Cabotage Law, though it was announced in the first week of September. The MoD is of the opinion that all containers, including those transshipped via ICTT, should be scanned.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had twice foiled attempts to smuggle red sanders via ICTT Vallarpadam.
The installation of high-end security devices for scanning containers was a major recommendation made by the high-powered committee constituted to review the security at major ports. The panel was headed by Cochin Port Trust former chairman N Ramachandran. Following the recommendations by the panel, the Central Government had directed all major ports in the country to install advanced radioactive material detectors.
DP World Cochin Chief executive officer K K Krishnadas confirmed that steps had been initiated to install the devices.
“The installation of radioactive material detectors is not a new proposal. It was an earlier decision and that is being implemented now,” Krishnadas said.
“We are only at the preliminary stage. We are working on a draft plan. The devices will be installed as per the direction of the Central Government. Either the Cochin Port or the DP World will be given the responsibility to install them.” The vehicle scanners will be installed at the entry and exit gates. At these gates vehicles move slowly, so that the scanning could be performed.
Approximately, 800 containers are handled at the terminal daily. This number is expected to go up to 2,000 once the relaxation of Cabotage Law comes into effect. Commissioned in February 2011, the ICTT has never achieved its full capacity of one million TEU containers per annum.