DP World's Kochi terminal to get new feeder service
DP World’s International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT), also known as Vallarpadam, at Kochi is to benefit from a new weekly direct service linking the Middle East and Far East through Kochi.
The launch of the Galex service, operated by a consortium of four operators (Emirates Shipping Line, KMTC, RCL and Haijin) seems to be in response to moves by the Kerala government to develop rival Vizhinjam port into a transhipment terminal.
ICTT, since opening four years ago, has struggled to secure transhipment cargo and the Galex service the first Far East carrier service to call at Kochi, creating feeder connectivity to the west coast.
The service will operate 7,000-teu (twenty-foot equivalent units) vessels, with the first of these container ships expected to make its maiden call to Vallarpadam on July 13th.
Besides Kochi, the vessel will call on the ports of Pusan, Shanghai, Ningbo, Chiwan, Singapore, Port Klang, Nhava Sheva, Mundra and Jebel Ali.
Shipping analysts say the new service, which starts from South Korea, will potentially provide competitive transit time and comprehensive networks.
The addition of the Galex service gives ICTT a total of four direct services with West Asia. The service is expected to help the effort to divert the Indian cargo going to Colombo, but will also require dredging works to accommodate the large feeder vessels.
The container ships have a length of 300m, and a deep draft, requiring depth alongside of at least 14.5m. Dredging works in the ICTT basin have already commenced, and the entire project is expected to cost US $3.9-million.
Since the terminal was first commissioned four years ago, DP World has been requesting approval from the Kerala government for the depth to be increased, due to the inability of larger container ships to enter the port.