Manmohan Singh to dedicate new Kerala port to nation on Feb.11

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Vallarpadom (Kerala), Feb.7 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, will dedicate the

International Container Trans-shipment Terminal (ICTT) at Valarpadom, Kerala, to the nation on February 11.

The new port, which will be privately operated by Dubai Port World, has been facing constraints in the form of protests and strikes by major trade unions of the existing Cochin Port, who are demanding job security.

The Vallarpadam Port will be the largest single operator container terminal in India and the first in the country to operate in a special economic zone.

The new terminal will make Cochin a key centre in the shipping world, reducing India's dependence on foreign ports to handle trans-shipment.

The Dubai Port World has been granted a 38-year concession for the exclusive operation and management.

Dr.Singh laid the foundation stone of the terminal in January 2005. It has been built at a cost of more than Rs 3,000 crore and is expected to help bring down freight cost in India's international trade through shipping.

The terminal will be completed in three phases. In the first phase, with a 600-metre-long quay and a water-depth of more than 15 meters, the terminal is capable of handling large container vessels and can handle one million 20-feet containers (TEUs) annually, said Anil Singh, Managing Director and Vice President, Dubai Port World (Subcontinent).

He aslo added that once completed, this will be the jewel of India and will be remembered for generations.

Today, over 40 to 45 per cent of the country's containerised cargo is trans-shipped through Colombo, Dubai or Singapore.

Though the container terminal was awarded on Build Operate Transfer (BOT) basis to Dubai Port World, the Dubai government-owned international terminal operators, it was the responsibility of the Cochin Port Trust to develop road, rail and other infrastructure to provide hinterland connectivity.

The capacity will be enhanced to 1.5 million TEUs (Twenty Feet Equivalent Units) in the second phase; once fully commissioned the capacity will be 5.5 million TEUs. By Juhan Samuel (ANI)

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