Government unveils ₹7.5k project to refurbish Cochin Port

The Union government unveiled a comprehensive infrastructure development plan at the Port of Cochin on Sunday, which is part of a 7,500 crore push to modernize fishing ports and seaports funded in part by the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana-Blue Revolution program.

Union Fisheries Minister Parshottam Rupala and Minister for Shipping and Ports Sarbananda Sonowal jointly laid the foundation for fisheries in Cochin on Sunday 170 crore first phase modernization project overseen by the Cochin Port Authority. The aim of the project is to make Cochin a global center of the fish trade.

India’s 7,500km coastline has 200 ports, 12 of which are classified as critical to the economy, including Cochin. The main ports of the country fall under the jurisdiction of the center, while the rest are under the jurisdiction of the states.

“After the modernization of the port of Cochin, the export of fish and fish products is valued 1,500 crore annually,” Sonowal said.

The overall project is funded by grants from Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana and the Sagarmala program of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, apart from investments from a public-private partnership.

According to World Bank forecasts, modernization of ports could increase sea freight traffic by a compound annual growth of 16% until 2020/2026. India is one of the largest fish producers in the world and ranks second in aquaculture production.

“The country wants to achieve something By 2024-25, exports from the fisheries sector will be worth 1 lakh crore,” Rupala said in a statement.

The first phase of the project includes the construction of four air-conditioned auction halls, fish processing plants and some ancillary facilities. Funds will also go toward the construction of internal roads, state-of-the-art loading and unloading platforms, waste management facilities, dredging and fishing gear.

Four auction halls with mechanical retrieval and conveyance will increase the fishing port’s capacity by 415 tons of fish per day, the project details say.

As part of the modernization offensive, 700 fishing boats operating in the fishing port of Cochin will be equipped with new technologies. “The project will secure the livelihood of about 10,000 fishermen and indirectly the livelihood of about 30,000 fishermen along the entire value chain,” says the project document.

The Blue Revolution program supports coastal states in developing sustainable fishing infrastructure and sees an investment of 20,050 crore for five years from 2020-21 to 2024-25.

“The port sector faces numerous challenges. “It must meet growing demand and compete with the larger and more efficient ports in the region such as Colombo, Singapore, Port Rashid/Jebel Ali, Khor-Fakkan and Salalah,” according to a 2021 World Bank assessment.

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