Cochin: The Indian central government has promised to consider the Kerala state government’s request that Vizhinjam port be granted cabotage relaxation in September this year, when the renewal of the same relaxation for the Vallarpadam container terminal at Kochi port comes up.
Cabotage, which deals with restrictions on coastal transportation by foreign flag vessels, is being considered as a way of developing container transhipment hubs on the Indian coastline. This activity has not taken off at the DP World run Vallarpadam terminal even after it was granted cabotage relaxation in September 2013.
The Kerala government, however, is looking to develop Vizhinjam, which has a deeper draft and better location near the main East-West shipping routes, as a transhipment hub.
Transhipment is an area where India has been losing out to neighbouring ports like Colombo, Dubai and Singapore. More than 27% of India’s transhipment containers are moved at foreign ports, even as 70% of Colombo’s box throughput comes from transhipment of Indian containers.