THOOTHUKUDI: Reintroducing cotton trade from the Thoothukudi VOC port in a big way, a special storage facility for handling raw cotton was launched open at the Dakshin Bharat Gateway Container Terminal here, on Friday. This is India’s first such facility and an initial step towards establishing the ambitious Free Trade Warehousing Zone (FGTWZ) at the Thoothukudi Port, informed VOC Chairman S Anantha Chandra Bose.
The facility set up by the port estate can accommodate around 500 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU) of 40 foot container at the custom bonded area of Dakshin Bharat Gateway Container Terminal in berth number 8. International traders can stock raw cotton here for a period of 30 days free of cost.
Bose said that it is pertinent to note that the facility would help textile mills to get cotton at international price within a short span of one week, thereby increasing the yarn production in Tamil Nadu. The facility would have a rippling effect by strengthening the textile value chain particularly knitting, weaving, garment, textile processing, apparel sector. etc. The initiative will also help spinning mill owners to buy cotton at competitive prices in the Indian market, he added.
The raw cotton storage facility will lead to commissioning of the FGTWZ at Thoothukudi Port, with world-class infrastructure for warehousing of raw cotton, state-of-the-art equipment, transportation and handling facilities, commercial office space, water, power, communications and connectivity, and one-stop clearance of import and export formality.
It may be noted that export of cotton was frequent at the Thoothukudi Port during the colonial period.
M Senthil Kumar, Chairman, Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA), said that the price of cotton was highly volatile and that many industries in the small and medium scale category could not sustain the variations. “It takes at least a month to buy cotton consignment from abroad. However, this initiative will lead to the formation of an ‘international trading hub’ in Thoothukudi, a real initiative of Make in India,” he stated.
President of the Thoothukudi Customs Brokers’ Association, Jayant said the international cotton traders from Africa, Pakistan and other countries have been sending raw cotton to ports in Malaysia. This facility in India will attract global raw cotton traders to Thoothukudi and it can boost textile business in the southern peninsula.