The profitability of the Vizhinjam international container transhipment terminal (ICTT) is under question because of the annual maintenance requirement after every monsoon season.
According to hydrographic surveyor Commander John Jacob Puthur (retd), the terminal requires dredging after each monsoon to remove at least 3 million cubic metre of silt at a minimum annual maintenance cost of Rs 30 crore.
He said this at a seminar organised by the Latin Catholic diocese on Vizhinjam port. There is no other means but to undertake at least four-month dredging after every monsoon and ships will not be allowed to move during this time, Puthur said.
The source of all sediments in the sea -- sand, silt and clay -- is land. The sediments are transported from land to sea mainly by rainwater or run-off. Even the dredged channel will be blocked, Puthur, who holds the highest certification for a hydrographic surveyor by the Indian government, said.
Meanwhile, experts argue that the dumping of the silt off Vizhinjam coast after dredging would cause environmental damage. The environment impact assessment report, however, did not touch upon these facts.
Also, the south west monsoon, which is the longest and fastest blowing seasonal winds in the world, will make loading and unloading work difficult for the massive 18,000-TEU vessel, he said.