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"Historic Milestone: Kerala's Vizhinjam Port Welcomes First Container Ship 'San Fernando'"

First Container Ship San Fernando

The Vizhinjam International Seaport could proud it self after a significant achievement on Thursday as the first container ship is docking the port, namely the ship ‘San Fernando’. From Xiamen Port of China, the vessel being 8,000 to 9,000 TEUs in capacity, the vessel came to discharge around 2,000 containers at the Vizhinjam site. Out of these, 400 containers will be moved through the ports modern and advanced equipments.

Setting sail from Sri Lanka, the ship moved to the outer zone by early Thursday morning, before seven o’clock in the morning. As per the instruction of the harbour pilot, it was subjected to a water cannon salute where large tug Ocean Prestige and smaller tugs, Dolphin Series 27, 28 and 35 sprays water over the vessel.

The offloading process will start immediately after berthing being done to Colombo after the inaugural ceremony on Friday, 12 July. The finds of ‘San Fernando’ symbolise initiation of test run for the Vizhinjam Port project which Kerala government aims to develop into an iconic one. As a semi-automated port with state-of-the art technology and IT integration, it is planned to be the First-of-Its-Kind in India with the full commissioning planned for September/October 2024.

State Port Minister V N Vasavan said this while speaking that the trial operation of the port is ready fully for the commissioning and the trial operation of the port is to begin soon and the first container ship will be received by CM Pinarayi Vijayan on 12th of July as part of the inaugural ceremonies to mark the starting of regular commercial ships services including container ships at Vizhinjam Port. The function will begin at 10 am in the morning with the lighting of the lamp, address by Union Shipping Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, other central and state ministers, dignitaries, officials, other public representatives etc. Tens of thousands of people are expected to troop to this historical occasion. With regard to controversies on the list of guests, Minister Vasavan said, “This is practices a trial run Everyone will be invited during the full commissioning”.

The minister was able to note that construction works have been accomplished to offer efficient services for the docking of foreign-vessels. The trial operation starting from the 12th of July will take between 2 and 3 months in which large vessels will be accepted at the port. One is expected to be realized in the next few weeks when a mega vessel of about 400 meters in length, that is a large container ship, comes to the port. The complete commissioning is likely to be done by September/October to encourage big international shipping companies to do the same. Big ships will discharge containers at Vizhinjam and other smaller ships will take these containers to different Indian and international ports which will be the commencement of transshipment process.

The Vizhinjam International Seaport is a case that involves the Kerala Government and the Adani Group, created under the framework of a PPP model. The special purpose vehicle, AVPPL, signed a concession agreement with Kerala Ports Department on 17-8-2015 and construction began on 5-12-2015. Specifically, Phases 2 and 3 of the project have been estimated to be finished by 2028.

DR. Girish Krishnan

Director & Strategy Consultant.

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