Government nod to a major port at Enayam near Colachel in Tamil Nadu will make it a transshipment hub and boost exports besides giving a fillip to fisheries and trade in the region, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today said.
Cabinet today approved the proposal to build a major port at Enayam near Colachel in Tamil Nadu, pending for 17 years. The port will entail an investment of about Rs 25,000 crore.
"Enayam is in the global East-West International trade route. India does not have a transshipment port even after falling on the strategic route. Now with the Cabinet nod, the major port there, work on which will begin next year, will become a transshipment hub," Shipping Minister Gadkari said addressing the media here.
Gadkari said 25 per cent of Indian container cargo is trans-shipped at foreign ports and Tamil Nadu alone accounts for more than 50 per cent of transshipped cargo.
Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishan who is a parliamentarian from Kanyakumari was also present.
Gadkari said developing the port will arrest any attempt by neighboring nations eying the transshipment opportunities in the region.
Countries like Sri Lanka and Maldives have been eying the opportunity by adding capacity.
Gadkari said the port will maintain 20 metre draft and will boost fisheries and trade in the region and farmers and fishermen will benefit immensely from it.
He added that a 10 km double track railway connectivity has been planned there besides a four lane road of 12 km to ensure connectivity.
A special purpose vehicle (SPV) will be formed with initial equity investment from the three major Ports in Tamil Nadu -- V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust, Chennai Port Trust, and Kamarajar Port Limited, the statement added.
The SPV will develop the port infrastructure including dredging and reclamation, construction of breakwater, ensuring connectivity links etc, it added.
A Shipping Ministry official said the project entails an investment of about Rs 25,000 crore and phase 1 will be implemented at a cost of Rs 6,575 crore.
The official added that private operators will invest about Rs 2,500 crore for the development of terminal berths, yard and equipment in the first phase.
At present, there are only a few ports in India that have sufficient draft and can match global cargo handling efficiencies.
"Currently, all of India's trans-shipment traffic gets handled in Colombo, Singapore and other international ports. Indian port industry loses out up to Rs 1,500 crore of revenue each year," the statement said.
Establishing this major port at Enayam will not only act as a major gateway container port for Indian cargo that is trans-shipped outside the country, but also become a transshipment hub for the global East-West trade route, it said.
Enayam will reduce logistics cost for exporters and importers in South India who depend on trans-shipment in Colombo or other ports thus incurring additional port handling charges.
The project has been pending for long and was opposed by local fishermen.
Last month accusing DMK and Congress MLAs of instigating innocent fishermen against the Colachel Commercial Port project, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Pon Radhakrishnan had said he would even resign and launch an agitation for its implementation.
"Colachel project is a dream project of the Kanyakumari people. The Centre has allocated Rs 25,000 crore for the project. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is keen on successful implementation of the project," he has said in Kanyakumari.
"If this type of politics continue, I will not mind resigning my ministership, with the blessings of the party leaders and launch an agitation," Radhakrishnan, who represents Kanyakumari in Lok Sabha had added.