Cochin port one of the three ports in the West Coast chosen by the shipping
ministry to promote cruise tourism is gearing up to play host to more luxury
cruise ships which will dock here carrying tourists from across the globe. The
port is expecting a call from nearly 50 ships this year against last year’s 46.
The other ports in the west coast are Mumbai and Mormugoa. Chennai will be the
lone port in the East coast where cruise tourism is being promoted by the
For international cruise liners, Kochi has always been a hot spot thanks to
its proximity to the international sea lane and a scenic harbour.
Since each cruise ship sailing into the port from international waters
brings with it thousands of tourists whose spending capability is much higher
than their Indian counterparts, tourism entrepreneurs in and around the city
and in nearby districts also reap benefits of the ships’ short stay at the port
as the passengers visit various places during the period.
As for the Cochin Port, there has been a rise in the number of visiting
vessels. In the last five years, 193 ships dropped anchors at the port. The
annual figures, however, rose and dipped like waves since 2012-13. In that
year, 40 ships docked at the port. This reduced to 34 in 2013-14, only to rise
to 39 in 2014-15.
The following year, 2015-16, it nosedived to 34 before achieving its
highest ever number of ships – 46 – in 2016-17.
The vessel traffic at the port is followed by the traffic at Mumbai,
Panaji, and Mangalore ports. The number of ships docking at the port is likely
to increase once the proposed international cruise terminal becomes operational
by late next year.
Being built by the Cochin Port Trust, the international cruise terminal
will come up at the Ernakulam Wharf and have modern passenger amenities. This
will be in addition to the existing cruise passenger facilitation centre,
Samudrika, adjacent to BTP Berth.The Cochin Port has a dedicated cruise cell
comprising officers specifically deployed for cruise operations.
Among their duties is arranging the pre-arrival planning meeting and
providing single window facility for issuing passes to coaches, guides and
other associated persons. To make matters more lucrative, the port is offering
65 per cent concession on vessel-related charges for cruise ships and 30 per
cent discount on berth hire and pilot services, besides 24-hour security for