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DP World expects growth for troubled ICTT in India

DP World optimistic on growth at Vallarpadam terminal (International Container Transshipment Terminal) in India
DP World has insisted that local regulatory issues to do with the dredging of the port to accommodate larger vessels is to blame
DP World has insisted that local regulatory issues to do with the dredging of the port to accommodate larger vessels is to blame

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DP World says it is optimistic about growth prospects for its Vallarpadam container terminal (International Container Transshipment Terminal) despite poor performance since it was commissioned four years ago.

“We are bullish on Vallarpadam ICTT even though it’s underutilisation has affected our investment plans in India,” said Anil Singh, managing director, DP World Subcontinent said in an interview with Business Line.

Singh said that the success of a port is measured over a longer gestation period of four to five decades, not four years. He said the sector requires high investments and that patience is necessary to manage expectations.

The port investments can only be viewed with a long term vision, he insisted.

The US $551-million terminal has been operating at 40% of its capacity despite the granting of concessions such as the Cabotage exemption, and has failed to attract significant transhipment cargo.

DP World has insisted that local regulatory issues to do with the dredging of the port to accommodate larger vessels is to blame, while a recently announced feeder service by Emirates Shipping Line may be a sign of hope for the port’s transhipment ambitions.

According to Singh, there are many regulatory issues holding back India’s ports. “There is a need to ensure a low cost logistics service for India to be competitive in the world market”, he said.

Singh was in Kochi to mark the launch of the new shipping service by Emirates Shipping Line, it will connect Kochi to Far East and is being operated by a consortium of four ocean carriers.

Noel Rattan, vice president of operations, Emirates Shipping Lines seemed to reinforce Singh’s point during a ceremony to mark the launch of the new service, at which he called on Kochi port authorities to lower their port handling charges.

Kochi, said Rattan, is 6-7 times more expensive to use for cargo handling compared to Colombo, which handles 70% of India’s transhipment cargo.

The average port handling charges per call in Kochi are US $80,000 while in Colombo, it is US $16,000.

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