Kochi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday dedicated to the nation the International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) in Kerala. It's the largest single-operator container terminal in the country.
Manmohan Singh, launching the Rs.3,250 crore first phase of the project in Vallarpadam off the Kochi coast, said it is a symbol of the government's commitment to Kerala's development.
'This is also a symbol of the how private public partnership can be a commitment to the public good. Also this is a symbol of cooperation with our West Asian neighbours,' said Singh.
He said it would will give a major boost to reducing the cost of exports and imports.
'Through this Kochi is all set become as an attractive investment area not only for Kerala but for the country and also this could well be the start of more investment from UAE where a large number of our diaspora work,' said Manmohan Singh.
The new terminal is expected to become a transhipment hub that and country will no longer have to rely on ports like Colombo, Dubai and Singapore. Thanks to the terminal, the cost of freight of a container is expected to come down by $300 and the transshipment time by almost 10 days.
The total number of containers handled in the first phase would be one million and would touch four million containers annually when fully operational.
The terminal has been developed on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis by the Dubai Port World (DPW), which won a global tender after quoting a gross revenue share of 33.3 percent to the Cochin Port Trust (CPT).
Rs.1,650 crore has come from the central government while the DPW invested Rs.1,600 crore. The BOT is for 30 years.
Manmohan Singh had laid the foundation stone for the project in February 2005.
Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on Friday used his speech to demand more from the central government.
'The proposed Kochi Metro is awaiting clearance from the centre and during the previous UPA government we were given a coach factory which was to come up in Palakkad, but it has still not materialised. We have done what we have to do and we wish these projects are cleared,' said Achuthanandan.
Deputy Chairman of Dubai Executive Council Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum was also present on the occasion.