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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Centre urged to increase draught at Tuticorin port

The Tuticorin port handling agents' association, the Tuticorin custom house agents' association and the Tuticorin ship agents' association has urged the Centre to increase the draught available at the berths in Tuticorin port to facilitate the handling of bigger vessels.

In a joint memorandum submitted to the Union Ministry of Shipping recently, the associations demanded that the draught be increased from the present 10.7 metre to 12.8 metre at the earliest. Any further delay would leave the port lagging behind other `players' in the sector.

The Centre must expedite the completion of outer harbour development works to attract more number of deep draught vessels and mother vessels to the port. It should be ensured that the draught was not less than 14 to 16 metres. It would avoid dredging at a later stage with extra mobilisation of funds.

The development of the hinterland of the port and the airport at Vagaikulam was essential for the integrated development of the port and the town.

The associations highlighted the importance of completing the four-lane works on the Tuticorin-Tirunelveli and Tuticorin-Madurai national highways sector on a war footing. "It would enhance the speed of outward and inward cargo movement at the port," they said.

Similarly, the road connecting Tuticorin with Kochi via Shencottah, Punalur and Kollam should be developed to improve the connectivity between the two major ports situated at Tuticorin and Kochi. All these developments would have a direct bearing on the economic growth of the port here.

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