Chennai, March 17 (BPNS)
The container shipment at VO Chidambanar port in Thoothukudi is affected by the economic crisis that has gripped neighbouring Sri Lanka.
The crisis has gripped the VOC port as due to sudden inflation in Sri Lanka the movement of cargo shipment at Colombo port has come down drastically. It is to be noted that more than 70% of the containers transshipped in Colombo originate from Thoothukudi.
The VOC port does not have berthing facility for large containers and hence depends mainly on Colombo port and cargo from Thoothukudi are ferried to Colombo in small vessels and a large number of trips are undertaken from Thoothukudi to Colombo and back.
The cargo that reaches Colombo in small vessels is loaded in large mother vessels from Colombo to international destinations including Europe and Africa.
According to booking agents and cargo clearance agents, around 4000 containers filled with cargo are lying at Thoothokudi port due to a lack of vessels to ply.
Shipping firm owner, Rajesh Kumar while speaking to BPNS said that companies in the island nation were not able to pay for the services of the vessels that were already used. Rajesh said, “ Most of the companies have run out of US dollar reserves as inflation has gripped the island nation. This has also snowballed the economic crisis in Sri Lanka but the sad part is that this is affecting our container movement and even perishable goods are waiting at the Thoothukudi port.”
He also said that the spiraling economic crisis in the island nation has engulfed the export and import sector of India with special emphasis on South India.
Industry bodies and shipping agents have already requested the Union government to launch feeder vessels to Singapore to mitigate the crisis.
K. Rajashekharan, a social activist at Thoothukudi while speaking to BPNS said, “ It is very important to develop Thoothukudi port into a major transshipment hub in the east coast of Tamil Nadu and reduce the dependency of the Colombo port.”