Efforts will be made to bring the first ship to Vizhinjam international seaport by September this year, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Friday.
In response to a question in the Legislative Assembly, the CM said the project will be a game changer for the state as major cities and business centers have flown around such mother ports around the world.
“We plan to have the first ship in port by September. Works are progressing rapidly and serious attempts are being made to bring this about,” he said, adding that with the opening of the port, an industrial corridor will be developed in South Kerala.
“It will initiate development in the region. The government plans to develop industrial parks, logistic centers and many other projects. It will provide job opportunities for many young people,” he said.
Work on the project was halted for about four months last year after fishermen led by the Latin Catholic Church disrupted it, claiming the port construction had triggered massive coastal erosion and robbed them of their homes and livelihoods.
They had requested that the work in progress be suspended, but the government stood firm. The protest was called off on December 6 after the government approved five of the seven demands it had made. The Adani Group is developing the country’s first mother ship project in Vizhinjam, 16 km south of the state capital.
Now the country is heavily dependent on the mother ports of Colombo, Singapore and Dubai for transhipment of heavy cargo into the country, which incurs additional costs and time. Once Vizhinjam Port is operational, it will close the gap.
Once fully operational, the world’s largest mothership will be able to anchor here with ease, port officials said, adding that once fully operational, five motherships will be able to dock at the same time.
The port, designed three decades ago (with a natural depth of 20 m), 12 nautical miles from the international shipping channel, is expected to give a major boost to southern India’s industrial growth, according to experts.