Kochi: Creating a landmark in the history of inland movement through National Waterways 3 & 9, the first barge named KPACT-1 with four (40 feet) import loaded containers was flagged off today from Cochin Port.
Cochin Port Trust said port trust chairman in charge A.V. Ramana flagged off the barge in the presence of Chief Commissioner of Customs, officials of the Port, DP World, Customs, Shipping Line and Kottayam Port.
The barge will travel to Kottayam Port, thus reducing carbon footprint and congestion on the roads.
A regular service between ICTT Cochin and Kottayam Port and ICD will greatly benefit the importers and exporters by way of reduced haulage for the last and first mile connectivity.
It is expected that the cost of movement by waterway will be 30 to 40 per cent cheaper compared to road movement. This is in line with the objective of ‘Sagarmala’, the flagship programme of Ministry of Shipping, Government of India.
Incidentally, this was the result of the initiative taken by Cochin Port Trust.
The Kottayam Port, a private-public participation project, was commissioned in December 2009.
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.