Although India expects a gradual shift in container throughput from the Port of Colombo to Vallarpadam International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) amid Sri Lanka’s economic crisis, Cochin Port’s annual results speak a different language. The volume of container throughput at the ICTT fell from 7.35 lakh (twenty equivalent units TEU) in 2021-22 to 6.95 lakh TEU in 2022-23, raising concerns among port authorities.
Container traffic at the ICTT had grown by 8-10% in recent years and the port of Kochi had fared better than other South Indian ports during the pandemic.
However, sources at the Cochin Port Authority claimed that the port saw an overall growth of 2.04% in the last fiscal year, handling 35.255 million tons of shipments during the period.
“The ICTT has failed to take advantage of the infrastructure facilities provided by huge investments from the treasury. The Port of Cochin spends Rs 140 crore annually to maintain the required draft of 14.5m. Also, the port is giving shipping companies Rs 60 crore as Vessel Related Charges (VRC) concessions free of charge to make the terminal competitive and attract ships.
In response to MP Elamaram Karim, the Union Shipping Minister informed the Rajya Sabha in February that the Port Authority of Cochin has suffered a loss of 577.23 billion in the past 10 years due to PRC.