KOCHI: The Cochin Port Trust, which registered the highest growth rate in the first two quarters among Major Ports in the Country, plans to clock 28 per cent growth by the end of this fiscal. “Buoyed by the improved performance during the first two quarters, we are confident of keeping the growth rate upward. Although the target is set at 28 per cent, we are working hard to make it 30 per cent,” Cochin Port Trust Deputy Chairman A V Ramana said recently.
The company registered the highest growth of 17.93 per cent in the first two quarters of FY18 by handling 8.95 million tonnes of cargo over the corresponding period of FY17.
What helped the Port register the highest growth is the increase in traffic of POL (petroleum, oil and lubricants), and containers during April- November. While POL traffic increased 24 per cent, container traffic grew 11.35 per cent.
What adds confidence in the Port management is the smooth flow of cargo from manufacturing hubs in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka as Cochin Port is the nearest port for many of them, especially those in Coimbatore and Bengaluru. According to Ramana, the goods and service tax (GST) was a blessing. “Cargo movement became seamless after GST as the Valayar check post, where cargo used to pile up for many hours, does not exist anymore,” he said.
“POL accounts for 66 per cent of the cargo handled at the port while 27 per cent is containers and 7 per cent other cargo. With the recently completed Integrated Refinery Expansion Project of the BPCL Kochi Refinery becoming fully operational, the port management expects another leap in the volume of POL,’’ Ramana said.
The Port Trust is also promoting coastal cargo. Ramana said discussions were in progress with car-carrier ship Dresden to resume its services connecting Kochi. The company had stopped its services to Kochi following labour issues. The service is expected to resume in February or March, Ramanna added. Dresden’s service in the Ennore-Cochin- Kandla-Cochin- Ennore circuit connects automobile manufacturing hubs to other parts of the country.
In the current fiscal, 768 ships have berthed at the Cochin Port till November. In 2016-17, a total of 1,216 ships called at the port.
“The turnaround time for a ship in Kochi has also come down. It was 1.99 days in 2016-17, which has come down to 1.58 days,” Ramana noted.