Kottayam-Cochin barge service from March 8

A long pending dream of introducing regular container barge service between Cochin Port and Kottayam Port will become a reality with the service between the two ports via National Waterways-3 and National Waterways-9 commencing on Friday.

An official release issued by the Cochin Port Trust said port trust chairman in charge A.V. Ramana held a meeting with representatives of the Customs Department, Kottayam port, IGTPL, Shipping Lines, custom brokers and other stake holders at Kochi on Tuesday to finalise the arrangements for a regular container barge service.

‘The barge service will help reduce carbon footprint and cost for first and last mile connectivity thereby fulfilling the objective of ‘Sagarmala’
programme of Union Ministry of Shipping,’ said Mr Ramana.

The Kottayam Port, a private-public participation project, was commissioned in December 2009.

Trial run on the corridor was already carried out in the sector.

Sources said a 240-tonne barge, capable of ferrying eight 20-foot containers or four 40-foot containers, would operate through the inland waterway to the Kochi port. It would substantially reduce the cost of transportation.

Besides cost factor, transporting the containers in extra-wide lorries on road would create severe traffic hold-ups in Kottayam town and Alappuzha.

The sources pointed out that waterways offer the most energy-efficient and least-polluting mode of transport. They also lessen congestion, pollution and accidents on roads. The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has installed buoys on the waterway, to enable safe navigation during night time too.

The sources said a container yard that will act as a buffer between the export and import cargo will be set up at the Kottayam port, country’s first inland container depot (ICD) project.

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