THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Santosh Mohapatra, director, Adani Group, on Tuesday described the Vizhinjam project as viable, but observed that it would also prove to be “one of the most difficult” ports in the country to build.
“No one has built such a port in India,” Mohapatra, who is CEO-designate of the Vizhinjam port, said, addressing a seminar ‘Vizhinjam. The Port and Development of Kerala’ organised by Kerala Kaumudi daily here on Tuesday.
He referred to the long breakwater that needed to be built to ensure a ‘tranquil’ port where ships could berth safely, and the land reclamation factor as challenges. ‘’This is one of the reasons why bidders have shied away from this project,’’ Mohapatra said. (The state government is set to sign the concession agreement with Adani Ports and SEZ on Monday.) Pointing out that there was nothing called a ‘natural port,’ Mohapatra underlined two factors that determined a port’s potential - the distance to deep sea which determines the length of the channel and ‘tranquility.’ Some coasts, like that of Gujarat, were naturally tranquil, but others, like Vizhinjam, required a breakwater to artificially create tranquillity, he said.
The viability of Vizhinjam hinged not on hinterland cargo but on the “realignment” of container traffic from Colombo, he said.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) which is in Mumbai, he said, took almost seven years to turn viable. He said that Vizhinjam was one project where so little land had to be acquired from private parties.