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CHAIRMAN’S NEW YEAR MESSAGE

25.12.2010 

Dear  colleagues, friends,

             It is with a deep sense of happiness and satisfaction that I greet each one of you on this New Year’s eve.

            We have reason to be happy that by the sheer hard work, dedication and determination shown by the employees and our various stakeholders comprising the extended family of the Cochin Port Trust, many of our dreams are turning into a reality. The Cochin Port Trust has shown to the world that government projects can also be conceptualised, planned and executed in a time bound manner.

          Our flagship project, the International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT) at Vallarpadam, is likely to be dedicated to the nation by the honourable Prime Minister of India in the next few weeks.  We have been able to complete the ICTT project, which is in fact a combination of four mega projects, in  about five years’ time, braving and overcoming thousands of obstacles and countervailing forces.  We have been able to get the entire project cost of nearly Rs.1700 crores for the road, rail and dredging funded by Government of India. All the clearances required for the project have been obtained.  All these involved unimaginably huge amounts of paperwork and meticulous follow up at several Ministries and Departments of the Governments of India and the State Governments.  During the execution, I must confess that I had  put some impossibly tight target dates, but these were internally fixed targets, basically for putting pressure on our staff and other stakeholders. I must point out here that there has been absolutely no time delay for completion of the project, as per the concession agreement, according to which, we have time till the year 2013. Needless to say, implementation of these four mega projects in a synchronised manner was like a huge orchestra and every member of the Cochin Port family played his part brilliantly, resulting in a well coordinated and well synchronised completion of the component projects.

           The other presgtigious mega project is the LNG project which is fast coming up in our Puthuvypeen SEZ, together with a number of other ambitious projects.  Again, Cochin Port Trust employees have reason to be proud that this project which was conceived way back in the year 1997 and had remained on paper ever since, has finally taken off. Construction activities are likely to be completed by 31st December 2011 and by the time the project is commissioned, the Port Trust will start earning substantial incomes from this project as well. 

         Our e-Port project is the first of its kind among all major ports in the country.  This unique enterprise has given the Cochin Port an unprecedented edge over others, in providing quality services to our customers and stakeholders in an efficient and transparent manner. This is also another example of how the Cochin Port has shown to the outside world that they can achieve truly world class results by sheer hard work, commitment and dedication.  I must congratulate the entire Cochin Port Team that made this possible, in conjunction and collaboration with the TCS team and I take this opportunity to thank every one of you for this remarkable achievement.

         As I had mentioned in my earlier communications, the port will continue to face financial difficulties for the next two years more, but by the time the above projects are fully operational, we will definitely come out of the bad times and the port will see a bright and prosperous future ahead. Our two Port Based Special Economic Zones, the Multi User Liquid Terminal, the Bunkering Terminal and the IOC-sponsored LPG terminal are some of the other ambitious projects which are in different stages of completion.  Several downstream projects are slated to come in the Puthuvypeen SEZ, like a mega power project of 1200 MW.

          Some persons had expressed apprehensions about the future of our colleagues who are returning from the RGCT and the future of the Willingdon Island, after migration to the ICTT.  I must again re-iterate that every one of our employees returning from RGCT will be gainfully redeployed in other port activities and there is absolutely no reason for anxiety over their future employment or promotion chances.  We have already announced that the port intends to expand our existing CFS in a big way. The Commissioner of Customs has already declared the Cochin Port CFS as the ‘default’ CFS which means that in the case of all import containers which are not nominated to any other specific CFSs, all deliveries will be made through the port’s CFS.  As the port will also be handling the existing ‘pre-stage’ activities, it is expected that Willingdon Island will continue to handle large volumes of containers.  After vacation of the Q7, Q8 and Q9 berths by IGTPL, we would be in a position to handle larger bulk vessels with deeper draft at these berths.  Availability of railway sidings in these berths is an added advantage which will attract bulk handling vessels.

          As regards container carrying lorries, the same vehicles will continue to handle the business in Vallarpadam  and there is absolutely no fear that their prospects will be reduced. In fact, there will be a huge increase in the requirements for container lorries and there would be a commensurate increase in employment opportunities. In short, with the commissioning of Vallarpadam, there will be an exponential growth in employment opportunities both in Vallarpadam and Willingdon Island and I want to assure all concerned that there will be no loss of opportunities for real employment.

        While preparing to commission the prestigious ICTT project, I would like to place on record my deep gratitude to all Trustees of the Cochin Port Trust Board, present and past, for taking bold and timely decisions towards completion of the project.  I am thankful to all my colleagues, heads of departments, as well as every employee of the Cochin Port Trust for the deep commitment to the project and the untiring efforts made by them.

        I take this opportunity to extend my warm wishes to every one of you for a merry Christmas and a very prosperous and happy new year.

With warm wishes, 

 N.Ramachandran