The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has started dredging of the approach area of Ro-Ro Jetties at Willingdon Island and Bolgatty. The Ro-Ro service, which transport wheeled cargo between the International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) Vallarpadam, and the Willingdon Island, has been affected since August after fishing nets got entangled in its propeller, affecting the engine.
Following this, LOTS Shipping, the company which operates the service had requested the IWAI and the Cochin Port Trust to carry out dredging on the channel immediately.
“Dredging is now in progress at the approach area of the jetty at both terminals. With no dredging for a long time, the depth available at the approach area has reduced to 1.6 metres. The Ro-Ro Barge requires 1. 8 metres depth with load. We expect that the work would be completed in a period of 20 days,” said sources with the operator company.
They added that IWWAI will be carrying out dredging on the approach area in the first phase. “Dredging of the channel along the three kilometres stretch will be carried out at a later stage as the channel has a depth of three metres now,” they said.
The Ro-Ro (Roll-on Roll-off) barge service was introduced to facilitate the transportation of container trucks between Willingdon Island and the International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT). So far 1.10 lakh trailers have been transported via waterways.
The service was affected in August. The average number of trailer transported both ways is 3,000. In August, we could transport only 1,000. The company authorities believe that they could have transported 6,000- 7,000 TEUs, if the barge was not damaged.
ICTT Vallarpadam has registered highest ever throughput in August by handling 39,003 TEUs containers. Highest figure so far was 37,363 TEU in July 2012. The terminal handled 49 vessels in August 2013 which is the highest ever in any month, the previous highest being 47 vessels in July 2012.