Evolution of Cochin Port

It is believed that the Cochin Port was formed in AD 1341 as a result of the heavy floods in the river Periyar. The then harbour Muziris got silted up during the floods and a new opening formed at Cochin. Thereafter, Cochin was developed as a trading hub and visited by several international travellers. Colonial conquerors having trading interest administered the Kochi area for centuries.
The transformation of Cochin from a mere roadstead into a modern harbour is credited to Sir Robert Bristow, the harbour engineer who implemented the decision of the then rulers by creating a proper shipping channel by cutting the sand bar at the mouth of the harbour, during his two decades stint at Cochin (1920-1941).
The first ship entered the Cochin harbour on 26th May 1928. Thereafter, road-rail networks were introduced to Cochin, connecting important inland trading points, making the harbour the important trading hub on the Kerala coast.

Milestones & events

1341                            Closure of the ancient port of Muziris and widening of Cochin Gut.
1400                            Visit of Ma Huan, Chinese Ambassador and Nicolo Conti,Italian traveller.
24 December 1500      Arrival of Portuguese Admiral Cabral.
27 September 1503     Foundation stone laid for the first Portuguese Fortress in India.
1663                            Capture of Cochin by the Dutch.
20 October 1795         The Dutch surrendered to the British.
1836                            First chart of Cochin harbour made.
1859                            Arrival of Captain Castor, first Port Officer.
1870                            Aspinwall's memorandum suggesting developing a sheltered harbour in Cochin.

1880                            Memorandum by Cochin Chamber of Commerce to Duke of
1900                            Memorandum by Cochin Chamber of Commerce to Lord Curzon, Viceroy and Governor-General of India.

1904                            Chamber of Commerce offer to finance experimental dredging.
1915                            Alan Campbell's proposal to extend the railway line to Candle Island via Bolghatty, to reclaim land and build deep water piers there.

1918                            Report of Sir John Wolfe Barry & Partners.
13 April 1920              Arrival of Sir Robert Bristow.
9 July 1920                  Appointment of ad hoc Committee under the chairmanship of E.F.Thomas, I.C.S., Collector of Malabar.
1921                            Approval for experimental dredging.
1922                            Experimental cut on outer bar started.
1924                            Approval of Third Stage.
May 1926                    Commissioning of dredger "Lord Willingdon'.
30 March 1928            Sand bar at the mouth of the harbour cut open.
26 May 1928               First vessel crosses the channel and enters the harbour - SS Padma of Bombay Steam Navigation Co., commanded by Capt. Bullen.

August 1928               First foreign going vessel Croxteth Hall entered the harbour.
13 March 1929            Widening of channel completed.
1930-31                       Port thrown open for vessels up to 30ft draft.
1 August 1936            Administration of Cochin Harbour taken over by the Government of India under the Major Port Trusts Act.

12 August 1936          Maharaja of Cochin laid the foundation-stone for the Fourth Stage works.

2 June 1939                 Braunfels, the first ocean-going ship to berth alongside Mattancherry Wharf.

13 September 1948     SS Bharat Kumar, the first vessel to berth in the expanded Mattancherry Wharf.

15 August 1953          SS Jayabrahma, the first vessel berthed alongside South Coal Berth.

31 December 1955      Commissioning of the North Tanker Jetty.
6 February 1956          First tanker SS British Fortune berthed alongside South Tanker Jetty.

11 November 1959     Commissioning of North Coal Berth.
24 February 1964        Cochin Port Trust constituted.
19 May 1964               Commissioning of Ernakulam Wharf.
1966                            Experimental loading of palletised cargo started.
13 December 1969      Open berth Q9 commissioned.
27 November 1973     President Tyler, first container vessel to enter any Indian Port, berthed in Ernakulam Wharf.

13 March 1978            First Ro-Ro ship SS Gauguin called at the Port.
7 September 1978       Cochin Fisheries Harbour (first stage) commissioned.
27 April 1979              Container Freight Station inaugurated.
11 November 1981     Commencement of work on Integrated Development Project.
12 January 1984          Cochin Oil Terminal commissioned.
15 June 1984               Linking of Cochin Port with Coimbatore ICD.
September 1985          Preliminary report on Vallarpadam Mother Terminal was handed over to Government of India.
1984-85                       Dedicated fertilizer berth commissioned.
1992-93                       Container Freight Station commissioned.
1993-94                       Dock Labour Board merged with Cochin Port Trust.
1994-95                       Dedicated container handling facility 'Rajiv Gandhi Container Terminal' commissioned.
1996-97                       The New Administrative Office opened.
2001-02                       Boat Train Pier (BTP) reconstructed as 330m long Multi Purpose Berth.
2007-08                       Offshore Crude Oil handling facility (SBM) commissioned.
2010-11                      Commencement of first phase of International Container Transshipment Terminal, Vallarpadam with 1 million TEU capacity. A four lane NH and a new link rail to the national rail grid from the Terminal created.


2012-13                       LNG Regasification Terminal commissioned.
First LNG vessel MV Wilenergy berthed.

2012-13                       Samudrika – cruise passenger facilitation centre commissioned.


    • Cochin Saga by Sir Robert Bristow, C.I.E. published by Bristow Memorial Society.
    • A Queen’s Story – Five Centuries of Cochin Port by D. Babu Paul IAS.