KOTTAYAM: A Barge, loaded with machineries, successfully conducted its trial run from Kottayam Port to Eerayilkadavu via Kodimatha through the Kodoor River on Friday, giving a big fillip to the authorities’ efforts to promote freight transportation through inland waterways.
The port authorities said the successful test drive has given a major boost to regular operation of transhipment containers from the Kottayam Port, the country’s first inland container depot (ICD) project.
“We’ve been doing cargo container transhipment by road for the past five years. As part of the second phase, we’ve now successfully done it via waterways,” said Kottayam Port and Container Terminal Services Pvt Ltd General Manager K N Roopesh Babu.
He said Kochi-Kottayam container movement via waterways will become regular from the first week of March.
“The containers arriving in Kochi international Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT) will be brought to Kottayam via waterways and then be moved to other parts of Kottayam as well as Idukki and Pathanamthitta after Customs clearance procedures here,” he said.
“We’ve already operated more than 12,000 containers already, including both export and import. However, there was a slight delay in water movement of containers owing to various reasons, which are being rectified,” said Roopesh.
“Tender proceedings for purchasing a 150-metric tonne crane unit are in the final phase and the unit is
expected to arrive in Kottayam within 15 days. “We need such a crane unit to operate container services,” he added.
The declaration of Kodoor River as the national waterway and more than five years’ experience in Customs clearance will be added advantage for the Kottayam Port. It will cut the logistics cost by 40-50 per cent.
The Kottayam Port, which is a private-public participation project, was commissioned in December 2009. The container movement through water is also expected to give a major boost to the Central Travancore’s agriculture sector. Spices, rubber and its products, newspaper reels, machineries and agriculture equipment can be moved through Kottayam Port.