Kerala's Vizhinjam Port makes history with arrival of first container ship 'San Fernando'

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Thiruvananthapuram: The first container ship ‘San Fernando’ on Thursday arrived at the outer sea ahead of docking at Vizhinjam. The ship, with a capacity of 8,000 to 9,000 TEUs, set sail from Xiamen Port in China and will unload 2,000 containers at Vizhinjam. It will utilize the services of Vizhinjam Port for handling 400 containers, and the port will provide international standard services.

The ship, which started from Sri Lanka, reached the outer area before 7am on Thursday. The harbour pilot will bring the ship to the port, where it is expected to berth by 9:15 am. The vessel will be welcomed with a water salute, led by the large tug Ocean Prestige and smaller tugs Dolphin Series 27, 28 and 35.

The container ship will begin offloading its containers soon after berthing. The ship will depart for Colombo following the inaugural ceremony on Friday, July 12. Equipped with modern equipment and advanced automation and IT systems, Vizhinjam will become India’s first semi-automated port, expected to be fully commissioned in September/October 2024.

Kerala Minister for Ports V N Vasavan visits International Seaport at Vizhinjam, in Thiruvananthapuram, Wednesday, July 10, 2024. Photo: PTI

The trial operation of Kerala’s dream project, Vizhinjam Port, will commence with the arrival of a container ship from China and the inaugural ceremony on July 12, said state Port Minister V N Vasavan.

“With preparations underway for the port’s full commissioning, trial operations are set to begin. The inaugural ceremony, scheduled for July 12, will be attended by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who will receive the first container ship,” said Vasavan. This marks the beginning of regular commercial ship services, including container ships, at Vizhinjam Port, the minister told reporters.

Fishing boats anchored at the beach at Vizhinjam International Seaport, in Thiruvananthapuram , Tuesday , July 9, 2024. Photo: PTI

The ceremony, starting at 10 am, will be graced by the presence of Union Shipping Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, central and state ministers, dignitaries, officials, and representatives of the public. Thousands of people are expected to witness the historic event.

The minister said that construction works have been completed to provide world-class services, paving the way for international vessels to call at the port. The trial operation, starting on July 12, will continue for 2-3 months. During this period, the port will witness the arrival of large vessels. Within a few weeks of the trial operation, a large container ship with a length of around 400 meters will arrive at the port. The full commissioning of the port is expected to happen in September/October. Leading shipping companies worldwide will follow suit. Large vessels will unload containers at the port and then leave, making way for smaller vessels to arrive at Vizhinjam and transport these containers to various ports in the country and abroad. This will mark the beginning of full-scale transshipment operations at Vizhinjam Port, the minister added.
(With PTI inputs.)

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