V O Chidambaram Port Tuticorin received shot in the arm from the Shipping Ministryby being declared as the Smart Port by next year on par with the country’s number one Jawaharlal Nehru Port at the recently concluded ChintanShivir (brain storming session) of the Union Port and Shipping Ministry that concluded at the Kerala’s hill resort town of Munnar two days ago
The communiqué issued at the ChintanShivir, however does not spell out what kind of Smart Port has been envisaged for VOC Port, Tuticorin.
While the five container terminals of Jawaharlal Nehru port handled more than six million teus, the two terminals in a year, the turnover of the two terminals of the VOC Portis less than a million TEUs.
Several projects of the VOC Port including the Outer Harbor project Transshipment terminal and deepening the Entrance channel proposed several years ago are yet to take off. It took more than three years for the third container terminal project to take off while the turn over first terminal managed by the PSA group Singapore remained stunted for the past ten years due to legal issues over royalty.
It remains a feeder port wholly dependent on the Colombo port for survival for over two decades. The port also depended on the outmoded road transport for evacuation of 90 per cent of the cargo since the railways and CONCOR have no projects to step up rail connectivity to the port. The Major Portcame into existence nearly fifty years ago.
The ChintanShivir has also reiterated the Government’s commitment to make VOC Port as Green hydrogen hub along with Gujarat’s Kandla port. The port has been allowed to purchase two tugs under the Green tug transition program along with Kandla, Jawaharlal Nehru and Paradip ports an official release said