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MSC diverted two vessels to Cochin Port from Colombo

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KOCHI : Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the world’s largest shipping line, has diverted two of its vessels — MSC Sofia PAZ and MSC Antonia — from the Colombo Port to the International Container Transhipment Terminal of Cochin Port at Vallarpadam in the last couple of days, so the current crisis in Sri Lanka has started benefiting.

MSC Sofia PAZ, under Australia Express Service, having a LOA of 300 metre berthed at ICTT exchanged around 2800 of TEUs on its stay at Cochin.

The ship discharged 1800 TEUs of transshipment containers and brought around 800 TEUs of empty containers for the benefit of the shippers patronising Cochin Port, a senior official of the port said.

Similarly, MSC Antonia under Africa Express Service, having a LOA of 304 metre anchored at ICTT on May 13 after picking up the transshipment boxes discharged by MSC Sofia PAZ.

The VRC concession scheme for container vessels recently introduced by the port with the objective offering more concession for higher exchange of containers per vessel has started paying dividends as the operators are striving to maximise their exchanges to get higher concession. This has become beneficial for the terminal and the Port, the official added.

The official pointed out that transshipment container volume at the port continued to increase during the current financial year (2022-23) as well. In April, ICTT handled 15,324 TEUs of transhipment traffic, a growth of 247 per cent over April, 2021 and 12.6 per cent over the previous month of March.

If the disruption at Colombo Port continues, Cochin Port can see more number of diversions of ships. However, the need of the hour is to convert these adhoc calls into regular services so that the trade in this region will be benefitted, the official added.

Prakash Iyer, Chairman of Cochin Port Users Forum, said the Exim trade is still facing many issues due to irregular services and the current issues at Sri Lanka added more difficulties to customers.

The new revised tariff scheme of Cochin Port is in much favour of bringing new services and would ensure the profitability of the port as a business centre. Since there were erratic services experienced during the last two years due to Covid pandemic, many carriers could not avail the facilities offered by the port.

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