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Cochin port is in race with Tuticorin to grab Tamil Nadu spinning mills market

Cochin Port is in rat race with Tuticorin Port, to grab the imported cotton cargo meant for spinning mills in Tamil Nadu, by demanding the setting up of a facility for re-export of cotton. A similar facility was inaugurated at V O Chidambaranar port, Tuticorin last month.

The spinning mills in Tamil Nadu have been pressing the Centre for uninterrupted supply of imported cotton to keep the textile industry going since there is shortage of domestic supplies. The spinning mills are also not satisfied with the quality of domestic supplies from Gujarat.

Last month, the Tuticorin port inaugurated a facility where the imported cotton can be stored both for the consumption of local spinning mills and the excess stock could be re-exported to countries in the neighborhood. The customs have given the necessary clearance for the purpose. Tamil Nadu has the largest number of spinning mills in the country and produces yarn for textile industry. It has also been decided to open a free trade zone in Tuticorin port at a later stage if the present arrangement worked.

Taking cue from the Tuticorin experiment, Cochin Port Trust has pressed for similar facility at its special economic zone for re-export of cotton that is imported from different countries and not used in the domestic market. We are expecting the similar facility at Cochin port too soon said an official of the port.

Distance wise the spinning mills in Dindigul, Madurai and Rajapalayam region are close to Tuticorin port while the industries in Coimbatore are nearer to Cochin port.

Deputy Chairman of the Cochin Port A.V. Ramana said the Chief Commissioner of Customs Kerala is finalizing the response to Cochin Port's proposal to have the facility for re-export.

Cochin port currently handles cotton imported in containers. But the existing Customs rule did not allow re-export of the cotton that could not be marketed to the domestic industry. We demand the same facility that the customs have provided at Tuticorin port an official said.

Mr.Ramana said the Port has also floated a proposal to have rail connectivity between Bengaluru and Kochi for movement of goods for shipment. This could be connected to Coimbatore.

However, if the distance is short, rail movement would be expensive. One of the main challenges for the exporters is to move goods to Cochin Port by road used to be Walayar check post near Palghat. With introduction of GST, the check post has been dismantled. There is now free movement of trucks to Cochin port and the days of their getting struck at Walayar check post are over.

The trade prefers transportation through road. The Port plans to provide a combination of road and rail connectivity export cargo so that containers from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka could be consolidated and moved to the port. (Kerala hardly has any industry and therefore Cochin port has to depend on the hinterland from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The details for this arrangement are being worked out. Volume of goods handled at the Cochin port increased by 30 to 35 per cent and this year a 50 per cent growth is expected.

Regarding coastal connectivity, he said mother vessels call at major ports with deep draft and the goods imported or exported could be moved from one port to another through coastal connectivity.


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