Kottayam: The container barge service to Kottayam Port and Container Terminal is now on. The first cargo arrived from Kochi on Saturday. The maiden commercial voyage to the port carried goods for TJP Rubber Industries and Diamond Flour Mills based at Kottayam.
The arrival was delayed after hyacinths got stuck in the barge’s propeller near the Pallam boat jetty on the outskirts of Kottayam town. The journey resumed at 6pm after workers on a pilot boat and accompanying dredger removed the hyacinths.
Every barge has a capacity of 240 tons. Goods movement through water is cheaper too. The inauguration of Kottayam zone’s first inland freight movement was done by CPM district secretary V N Vasavan, who was incidentally chosen to contest from the Kottayam Lok Sabha constituency on Saturday.
Kottayam Port MD Abraham Varghese, Revenue Department former additional chief secretary PK Kurian and Shipping Ministry representative Sasibhushan Shukla spoke at the event.
The facility at Nattakom is reportedly the first Indian Inland Container Depot (ICD) to make use of an inland waterway. Customs authorities are expected to de-notify four acres near the Kottayam Port to be used as storage area.
The trial run to transport goods to Kottayam Port through inland waterways was conducted successfully last month. Prior to that another trial run was carried out with empty containers.
This new service comes as a big boon to the business community who had been pressing for a similar service to improve the ease of transporting goods in the state. As it is more cost-effective in moving goods along the river, businesses are likely to see a substantial drop in expenses.
It takes the barge six hours to reach Kottayam from Kochi
Distance by road: 100 km
Distance by water: 85km
40% savings on transportation cost if barge is used.