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Dubai-based DP World launched its new terminal at Vallarpadam in the south Indian state of Kerala.
The new terminal is a public-private partnership (PPP) between DP World and the Government of India, with Container Corporation of India (Concor), Transworld and Chakiat also strategic partners in the venture.
The Vallarpadam International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT), will be the largest single operator container terminal in India and will be operated as DP World Cochin. The DP World Cochin will be the first-ever dedicated transhipment and will service as a gateway hub in India. It cost more than US$600mn to construct.
With the launch of the facility, container handling will move entirely to DP World Cochin from nearby Rajiv Gandhi Terminal. The older unit may be converted by Cochin Port Trust to handle greater volumes of non-containerised bulk cargo.
The DP World Cochin will be completed in three phases. In the first phase, the 600-metre-long quay with a draught of around 14.5 metres will be able to simultaneously serve several of the world's largest container ships - those with a nominal capacity of around 10,000 TEU (twenty foot equivalent container units) with capacity to handle one million TEUs annually.
"The Government of India has also constructed and enhanced supporting infrastructure such as the construction of a four lane national highway connecting the terminal to the rest of India and a new 8km long electrified rail link will allow 15 trains to serve the terminal daily, connecting customers directly with India's national rail network," an official said.
Capacity will expand in line with market demand, increasing to around 1.5 million TEUs in the second phase; once fully commissioned, capacity will be around 4 million TEUs, he added.
The port will significantly reduce both time and costs for India's importers and exporters, improving their competitiveness and contributing to the further development of India's growing economy.
Mohammed Sharaf, chief executive officer, DP World said: "DP World Cochin offers customers world class, reliable, value added services with excellent road and rail connectivity for greater efficiency, helping them to get their goods faster to market at competitive prices. The terminal's services and state of the art facilities provide an outstanding option for shipping lines looking to tranship in the region."
Anil Singh, senior vice president and managing director, DP World Subcontinent, said: "Container trade in India has been growing year on year by 15 per cent, and the development of a transhipment and gateway hub within the country will contribute to further growth."
DP World also operates terminals in Mundra, Nhava Sheva, Chennai and Vishakapatnam, and is also developing a new terminal facility in West Bengal.