The Union Cabinet has given its in-principle nod the for the construction of a major port at Enayam near Kanyakumari at an estimated cost of Rs. 27,000 cr.
According to S Natarajan, Officer on Special Duty, Colachel Port, approval was obtained after the conduct of an exhaustive study at Kanyakumari, Manavankurichi, Colachel and Enayam locations to select the optimal site for port development.
Enayam emerged the best option on various parameters such as ease of construction, expansion, connectivity and environmental issues. Its proximity to mainline shipping routes (deviation is just about 15 nautical miles) and availability of a natural draft of over 16 metres makes it the best bet for transhipment business.”
He further said the project would be executed without affecting the coastal villages and the expansion would not require wide inland area as the reclaimed area of around 400 hectares would provide adequate room for port facilities and industries.
A 9.2-km highway would be laid and connected to the Trivandrum-Nagercoil NH 47 to facilitate the seamless movement of cargo and a railway line (to a length of 11 km) would be laid to connect the port to the National Rail Network.
The port development has been planned in three phases between 2017 and 2030.
Highlighting the benefits of establishment of such a port, he said “this will open up a gateway for EXIM (export-import) trade and add to the cargo handling capacity of the nation.”
The development of Colachel Port with deep drafted container terminals would facilitate direct shipment of Indian containers to overseas destinations, thereby, avoiding transhipment through Colombo and Singapore Ports. The Indian port industry loses up to Rs. 1,500 cr of revenue each year on transhipment.
“With the initiatives being taken up by the state government, there is a possibility of extending the East Coast Economic Corridor from Kolkata to Chennai, further up to Kanyakumari. The proposed dedicated freight corridor from Chennai to Kanyakumari (double railway track) and SEZ (Special Economic Zone) at Nankuneri, industrial corridor between Madurai and Tuticorin, would enhance industrialisation of Kanyakumari district.”
“In the long run, the port will act as a catalyst for the development of industries such as thermal power stations, petrochemicals, refineries and agro-industries and uplift the economy of the industrially lagging region