Merits and Demerits of Building New Seaport in Colachel
Colachel is located on the west coast of Kanyakumari district, basically a 2nd grade Municipal town. Few decades back there was a small fishing harbor in the town. Since separating Kanyakumari from Travancore Kingdom, upgrading of colachel harbour was a long term dream of people who live nearby. The said new seaport will be developed over 500 acres of land. Government of India is planning to develop the port initially with a Private investment of Rs 25,000 crore. Experts believe that the port could handle minimum of 20 lakh ton to 80 Lakh capacity in a year.
Merits of Building New Seaport in Colachel
So the ultimate merits of building colachel sea port is
- It could pretend as the gateway of South India/Tamil Nadu (Now Tuticorin)
- It could generate 1000s of employment opportunities.
- More likely, the small town may get at least tier 3 city status.
- It can be a transshipment hub for India
- Tamil Nadu can get 4 International Harbor (Now, Chennai, Tuticorin and Ennore)
Demerits of Building New Seaport in Colachel
Apart from the above said advantages there are plenty of disadvantages in setting up a new seaport in Colachel. The proposed Enayam seaport (Colachel) could erode the economic viability of ports which are nearby. There are Kochi International Port (Approximately 255 Kms away), VOC International Port (Formerly called as Tuticorin Port, Approximately 150 Kms away) and already proposed Vizhinjam International Seaport which is just 25 Kms away from the newly proposed Harbor at Colachel. As of now, Kochi and VOC port (Tuticorin Port) is handling maximum of south Indian Sea traffic. Setting up a new port would add additional expenditure like building 2 breakwaters (North and south) which protect the port from waves, dredging cost to maintain 15-16 feet draft for ships to settle and other harbor infrastructure facilities including machinery, connecting roads, rails, pipelines etc. So it is better to invest at the expansion of the existing major seaports than building a new one. If the proposed seaport is established it will do no good than creating a competition for transshipment traffic with nearby Vallarpadam and Vizhinjam as well as from the major ports of Chennai and Tuticorin.
More over, in the absence of Sethusamudram project setting up a new port is meaningless. We can take a good example from Kochi port. Kochi was expected to attract more traffic from Colombo but it didn’t succeed as expected. And at the same time, if Sethusamudram project is completed then Tuticorin port (The fourth Largest container terminal of India) alone can handle maximum traffic because of its huge potential of unused land (Current size of port is 960 acres while total available land is 2150 acres) therefore the proposed 500 acres of Colachel harbor will be no match with the giant.
Colachel seaport will affect the growth of Tuticorin Port?
I would also like to recollect the statement from Minister of State for Shipping and Highways Pon. Radhakrishnan that setting up Colachel port does no harm to Tuticorin Port (VOC Port). The new port will act as a supportive role in the development of maritime economy. The Government of India has already sanctioned Rs 11000 crore for outer harbor expansion. If the work is completed on time then VOC port’s will contribute maximum among other Indian Ports.
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