KOCHI: After luring the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to transport a big consignment of rice through coastal shipping, the Cochin Port Trust (CPT) is holding talks with the private sector to move their goods to Kerala via the coastal route.A V Ramana, deputy chairman, CPT, met the private rice millers of West Bengal in Kolkota to convince them of the benefits of the coastal movement of rice to Kochi the other day. Officials said this is a major thrust area for port, and more sectors will begin to use the coastal route for transport of goods and consignments to the state.
In September, 25,000 tonnes of cement from Krishnapatnam arrived at the CPT, marking the beginning of operations of the fourth cement terminal at the Cochin Port. “This modal shift in transport of cement from road/rail to sea is another step towards promoting coastal shipping as a cost-effective and environment-friendly means of transportation as envisaged under the Sagarmala Programme of Ministry of Shipping. Cement being a high-volume, low-value product, lower-cost sea transport is very important as a game changer in logistics,” officials said.
The CPT’s other three terminals are Ambuja, UltraTech and Zuari, and they handle 7,83,000 tonnes of cement annually. The bagging terminal of Penna Cement Ltd. is the fourth such terminal at Cochin Port. The terminal has been set up in 1.14 ha of land leased by Cochin Port Trust and is expected to handle 3 lakh tonnes of cement annually.
Recently, a consignment of 4,732 tonnes of rice from the FCI arrived in 182 containers at the International Container Transshipment Terminal at Vallarpadam here. The consignment of rice – which is for public distribution in Kerala – arrived at the Vallarpadam terminal in a container ship ‘SSL Kochi’ from Kakinada Port via Krishnapatnam (both in Andhra Pradesh), said a statement from Cochin Port.
Until recently, FCI brought the rice to Kerala mostly via trains. It is expected 10,000 tonnes of rice will be brought every month from Andhra Pradesh to Kerala in the days to come. “This is a modal shift to coastal shipping as it has proved cost-effective for FCI,” officials said.