Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) was asked to use the Vallarpadam port for transshipment of cargo instead of its current practice of using Colombo port.
The Joint Forum of Trade Unions in Kochi Port submitted a memorandum to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, which visited the city recently.
Through the memorandum, the union asked the committee to persuade the SCI to use the Vallarpadam port instead of Colombo. The union pointed out that SCI was still using Colombo port as its transhipment hub.
In 2012-13, nearly 3,40,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of Indian containers were handled by SCI in Colombo.
The union argues that International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT) at Vallarpadam had been set up by the Union Government to provide transhipment services to containers originating in India. So, SCI still using the Colombo port defeats this intention.
The unions also sought financial assistance from the government for dredging operations until the port can breakeven financially. The Kolkata port is being similarly subsidised by the central government.
According to trade unions, the Kochi Port is facing serious financial crisis after the Vallarpadam ICTT was commissioned.
The terminal granted concessions on vessel-related charges at rock-bottom prices to attract mainline container vessels, but this has made the port financially vulnerable.