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V.O. Chidambaranar Port sets sight on mega investments

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TUTICORIN : With multiple big-ticket projects on track in and around Tuticorin, V.O. Chidambaranar Port in the city is all set to capitalise on the newfound investor interest in the area. The VOC Port in Tuticorin has invited global bids valued at around Rs 7,056 crore for an outer harbour project.

This project includes the construction of two container terminals, involving preparatory work such as dredging and building a breakwater at the port, with a capacity to handle 4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). The idea behind the expansion is to capitalise on the upcoming projects like Rs 16,000 crore electric vehicle manufacturing unit by Vietnamese major VinFast, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) second spaceport in Tamil Nadu’s Kulasekaranpattinam and Singapore’s Sembcorp’s Rs 36,238-crore investment in renewable energy in the area, among others.

The envisioned project aims to elevate VOC Port into the first transshipment hub on India’s east coast. The VOC Port Authority has issued the Request for Qualification (RFQ), accessible through the provided weblink, for the development of the outer harbour container terminal project. This initiative involves viability gap funding from the Government of India and is structured as a public-private partnership on a ‘design, build, finance, operate, and transfer’ basis, said an official statement.

Anticipated to reach 25 million TEU by 2025, the demand for the Indian Container Market is substantial. The Government of India is actively promoting the development of existing terminals on the east coast to capture the transshipment traffic currently routed through Colombo and Singapore. Presently, Jebel Ali handles 2 per cent, Colombo 60 per cent, Singapore 10 per cent, and Port Klang 3 per cent of Indian transshipment containers.

Strategically positioned, the port enjoys the advantages of being close to 16 Container Freight Stations (CFS) and over 2.5 million square feet of warehouse space within a 5 km radius. The port has been designated as one of the three exclusive hubs for Green Hydrogen and Offshore Wind Power in India. The port boasts road connectivity through a six-lane Harbour Express Road, linking to two National Highways and ensuring excellent and seamless access to hinterland markets such as Tirupur, Coimbatore, Pollachi, Karur, Madurai, Rajapalayam, Kollam, and Tirunelveli. Interestingly, there were reports that the port industry was apprehensive about the cost estimates of the project.

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