Port Rivalry

May 12, 2010 (LBO) – A new harbour in southern India built by DP World to open in August plans to lure ships away from Sri Lanka’s Colombo port, the present south Asian container transshipment hub, an official said. The new deep-water terminal in Kochi, south India, will be able to handle the 13,000-container capacity ships commonly used on Asia-to-Europe routes, Bloomberg newswire reported.

The big new long-haul vessels can’t call at existing Indian ports which lack the depth and cranes to handle them

This forces Indian importers and exporters to spend an extra 150 million dollars a year ferrying goods to and from transshipment hub ports in Colombo, Singapore or Dubai, Anil Singh, DP World’s India head told Bloomeberg in an interview in Mumbai.

Kochi aims to lure large container vessels from Colombo, which presently handle as much as 40 percent of India’s transshipment trade, according to Singh.

Indian shippers use Colombo port because of lower costs, deepwater facilities and looser regulations.

The Indian government has also agreed to reduce port fees that are presently more than eight times higher than Colombo’s for larger ships to help boost traffic, Singh said.

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