Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Hon’ble Union Minister of State (I/C) for Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, inaugurated the loading operation on the maiden voyage of Coastal Shipping Service “Green Freight Corridor-2” from Cochin Port to Beypore and Azhikkhal Ports during a virtual event held today (29.06.2021).

The function was attended by Dr. Sanjeev Ranjan IAS, Secretary, Shri Sanjay Bandopadhyay IAS, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways (at New Delhi) and Dr. M. Beena IAS, Chairperson, Dr. Cyril C. George, Deputy Chairman, Cochin Port Trust, Shri Praveen Joseph, Chief Executive Officer, DP World–Cochin (at ICTT Vallarpadam, Cochin Port).

Green Freight Corridor service is operated by Round The Coast Pvt. Ltd., which will connect Kochi-Beypore-Azhikkal ports, and later Kollam port will be added to this service. This regular service will help reduce the logistic cost to Northern Kerala, considerably.

The Operators have deployed a River Sea Vessel, Class IV, M.V. Chougule-8, which will be rechristened as M.V.Hope Seven (LOA – 67.2 m, Beam – 13.30 m, Draft 3.2 m) for this service. The vessel has a designed capacity of 106 TEUs, and can carry 50-60 TEUs of laden containers and has 20 reefer plug points. The vessel will call at Cochin Port twice a week and will feeder exim and coastal boxes to the ports of Beypore and Azhikkal. M/s JM Baxi is the general agent for the service.

The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has accorded high priority to building greater synergies between the Major Ports and No-Major Ports in a State in order to promote coastal trade and to improve logistics efficiencies through its flagship programme – ‘Sagarmala’. By doing so, the Ministry aims to provide seaborne connectivity to the trade and industries in the hinterland, reduce congestion on the road and rail besides bringing down logistics cost.

The commodities that would be shipped would include Rice, Wheat, Salt, Construction Material, Sanitary Wares, Cement, etc. unloaded at Cochin from Gujarat. On the return leg, the Operators are targeting to move exim cargo such as Plywood, Footwear, Textiles, Coffee, etc. Similarly the imported Cashew containers would also be moved from Cochin to Kollam at a later stage.

In order to promote coastal shipping of containers, Cochin Port is offering 50% rebate in vessel related charges for the River Sea vessels. Similarly, the Government of Kerala has also offered an operational incentive @10% above the road transportation cost as per the NATPC study report  for coastal shipping in the minor ports in the state for a period of one year from 23.01.2021. These hand-holding measures would help the sustenance of the service during the initial period and would encourage introduction of more services of this kind on regular basis.

This service is expected to bring about a marked modal shift of transportation of containers and easen the congestion on the road and reduce carbon footprint. This also augurs well to connect the hinterlands of northern Kerala, particularly the exim trade in Calicut and Kannur region.