KOCHI: In a major fillip to the state government’s efforts to shift the movement of hazardous cargo from road to the waterways, the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) on Friday launched a 500-tonne barge exclusively for industrial cargo transportation.
KSINC managing director Tom Jose’s wife Soja Jose inaugurated the launching ceremony of the barge ‘Orion’ at a function at Thoppumpady fisheries harbour. This is the largest barge ever made by the KSINC after making amendments to the Inland Vessels Act in 2010.
Built at a cost of Rs 3.2 crore, the barge - 49 metre long and 9 metre wide - will meet the industrial transportation needs of FACT.
“At present, most of the hazardous cargo are being transported through roads. With the launch of such a large barge, we expect to increase transportation of cargo through waterways. Currently, companies transport around 4 lakh tonnes of goods through waterways every year,” Tom Jose told reporters after the launch ceremony.
The KSINC completed the construction of the barge in 10 months as per the norms stipulated by the Kerala Inland Vessel (KIV) Rules. “The barge will be ready for operation in a week after completing the stability test,” he said.
Earlier, Tom Jose inaugurated the keel-laying ceremony of the 300-tonne oil barge at the Fisheries harbour. “The 37.9-metre long and 8.75-metre wide barge will help transport petroleum products without any risk. The barge is being constructed for the Kerala Metals and Minerals Ltd, which transports furnace oil, acid
and other hazardous products,” he said.