Kerala requires earliest completion of its notified 13 non-operational ports considering their potential to boost the economy of the state that has a coastline of 590 km, Minister for Ports Ramachandran Kadannappally said today,
Noting that Kerala has only four non-major ports functioning besides the nine-decade-old Kochi port that is major, he told ASCEND 2020 Kerala Global Investors Meet that the ongoing development of the 13 others was of immense value considering the special characteristics of maritime trading.
“For one, ships consume less fuel vis-à-vis other modes of transport and, hence, emit lesser carbon. Two, they can carry much larger quantities of cargo,” the minister noted at a parallel session on ‘Projects on Infrastructure: Aeropolis and Ports’. He also stressed the need for Kerala to have larger ports considering the huge size of vessels these days.
At the opening remarks of the 90-minute session on the final day of the January 9-10 event organised by Kerala’s Department of Industries, the minister listed out the names of the ports at different stages of development and called upon investors to join the government’s efforts to boost the state’s maritime trade that has a history of centuries.
Highlighting the bid to rejuvenate the Kodungallur port (Thrissur district) that had a seaport functioning from the 1st century, Ramachandran also spoke of the perceived benefits of the Azhikkal port in Kannur. Both the endeavours could invigorate coastal and hinterland trade, he noted.
Kannur International Airport Managing Director V Thulasidas, in a panel discussion that followed the minister’s speech, said the Azhikkal port’s proximity (30 km) to the Kannur airport (in Mattannur) ideally made the two projects share a symbiotic relationship. The two establishments can promote transport of cargo by air as well as sea, he noted at the session moderated by Vasudevan S, Partner, KPMG in India.
Further, the Kannur airport can strengthen Kerala’s tourism north of the state, considering its connectivity with places such as Bekal (Kasargod), Wayanad and Coorg (in Karnataka, across the border) that are inviting high footfalls in recent years, Thulasidas pointed out. “Kannur airport can prove to be vital to Kerala tourism in the next five years,” he added.
V J Mathew, Chairman of the Kerala Maritime Board, emphasised the need for the betterment of Kerala’s coastal roadways so that ports could play a big role in the state’s economic development.
Praveen Thomas Joseph, CEO of India Gateway Terminals, said the International Container Transshipment Terminal at Kochi’s Vallarpadam was expecting an expanded infrastructure by 2022.
ASCEND 2020 Kerala, which was inaugurated on Thursday by the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, aims to further reform ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in the state.
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