From mid-July, state-run Container Corporation of India Ltd (Concor) will
restart coastal shipping services from VOC Port Tuticorin to Kandla port in Gujarat it had suspended in
March when the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of
“We have already told the vessel operator to tie-up all the slots, complete
the process ,” a Concor official said, adding that the service would resume by
mid-July. India’s biggest rail hauler of containers has purchased 2,000 new
higher capacity containers — painted in dark blue – to be used in coastal
Concor entered coastal shipping in January 2019
Concor entered coastal shipping in January 2019 linking Kandla Port with VO
Chidambaranar Port Trust in Tuticorin with stops at New Mangalore Port Trust and Cochin Port
Trust by a weekly call.
Beginning November last year till March 2020, the two ships deployed on the service
were running at full capacity and an average of 60 containers used to be left behind in many ports
enroute when the ships sailed for want of space in the ship. On the March 27
sailing and the 59th overall since the service began, some 100 containers were left behind for
want of space.
Between November 2019 and March 2020, the ships carried over 30,000 twenty-foot containers. Notwithstading
that it is a new service tried out on an experimental basis, the peformance in
terms of generation of cargo from both ends was good.
Concor had picked Vishwa Samudra Coastal Lines Ltd to launch the Western
coast service last year through a tender, seeking to benefit from the impetus given
by the government to decongest road and rail.
The 10-year contract deployed two coastal ships
The 10-year contract deployed two coastal ships capable of carrying as much as 700
twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs with maximum gross weight of 21,000 tonnes.
Concor had planned to launch a similar service on the Eastern coast linking
Chennai Port with Dhaka in Bangladesh, in March. “Everything is in place.”
Shipping experts say the present west coast coastal service could not be
extended from Tuticorin to Chennai Port because of the draft restrictions in
the Pamban area near Rameshwaram.