Our Port is gradually recovering from the Covid induced downturn occurred post-2020. Though the cargo traffic is not growing as expected, efforts are being made by our business development team to achieve the target by the end of the current financial year.
Resurgence of cruise tourism sector after the Covid period was of great relief to the tourism sector in Kerala. The new international cruise terminal at Cochin Port– Sagarika, is open to cruise tourists and ensures international standards in cruise passenger facilitation with the co-operation of Customs, Immigration, PHO and other statutory/regulatory organisations. The revival of cruise tourism would definitely benefit the hospitality sector in the State of Kerala. This would also help to attract more hospitality related projects to the Cochin Port area.
The year 2022 saw the transition of Cochin Port Trust to Cochin Port Authority. We have utilised that opportunity to rebrand ourselves by introducing a vibrant and futuristic logo for Cochin Port.
The projects funded/supported by Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways through Sagarmala scheme are progressing as per schedule. The reconstruction of SCB for handling of Ammonia and fertilisers for FACT has been completed.
The development of Ro-Ro jetty for facilitating transportation of cargo laden trucks from other ports is also underway. The construction work is expected to be completed by July 2023.
The renovation project at Cochin Fisheries Harbour is also progressing as per schedule. This ₹170-crore project is aimed at transforming and upgrading the fish handling activities to the international standards. This would significantly help in increasing the export of seafood from Cochin and also help to improve the working atmosphere and living standards of the fishermen community in the area. Efforts are being made to complete the first phase of the renovation project by December 2023.
Thanks to the futuristic measures taken by the Government of India, our country has now become the fastest growing economy in the world. Major initiatives like PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan for Multi-modal Connectivity, steps to improve ease of doing business and the ambitious National Logistics Policy are making major impacts in the logistics sector in the country.
According to experts, India is transforming fast in to a logistics powerhouse. Changes in global trends like digitalisation, energy transition, growing size/profile of ships etc are going to change the portscape.
While digitalisation of processes has eased the logistics networks, through PM Gati Shakti the government is giving more importance to development of the last mile connectivity to make the movement of goods faster and cheaper. In this context, the Free Trade Warehousing Zone proposed at Vallarpadam would help reposition Cochin as a logistics hub of the region. The Port needs to garner more and more key investments to the Port area.
The initiation towards energy transition taken up by many nations, including India, would have far reaching impacts in the movement of fossil fuels in the future thereby impacting the cargo profile of the ports. We have to visualise the logistics requirements of the future and plan for development of infrastructure to suit such new developments and requirements of capacity additions, for the future. The preparation of Master Plan for 2047 for Cochin Port, which is underway, will address the above situation.
The year 2022 was another strike-free year for Cochin Port. The employees have shown great commitment and worked as a team towards development of the Port. I thank the trade union fraternity in Cochin Port for handling the labour related matters in a very responsible manner, which has helped a great deal in projecting Cochin as a strike-free and trade-friendly Port.
I also thank all stakeholders for joining hands with Cochin Port Authority to facilitate faster movement of cargo and smooth transit of passengers through Cochin Port.
I wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year.
1 January 2023
Dr. M. Beena IAS
Cochin Port Authority