The recent arrival in Cochin of the bulk carrier Penna Suraksha, transporting 25,000 tonnes of cement from Krishnapatnam, marked the start of operations at a new cement facility in the port, operated by Penna Cement. The terminal, the fourth dedicated to cement handling in the port of Cochin, is part of a concerted effort to promote coastal shipping as a
cost-effective and environment friendly alternative means of transportation as envisaged under the Sagarmala Programme of the Ministry of Shipping. The opening of the terminal is considered extremely well timed as the demand for cement to rebuild the state of Kerala, following the devastating recent floods, is expected to increase.
Cochin’s existing three cement terminals, operated by Ambuja, UltraTech and Zuari, handle over 783,000 tonnes of cement annually. The Penna Cement terminal has been set up on 1.14 hectares of land leased by Cochin Port Trust and is expected to handle 300,000 tonnes of cement a year to begin with, although eventually capacity could rise to 500,000
The new terminal connects to the Q6 berth at Ernakulam Wharf, where ships carrying cement from Krishnapatnam will be berthed before the transfer of their cargoes to storage silos through pneumatic suction systems. Penna Cement’s terminal has four silos with a combined total capacity of 20,000 tonnes.
Cochin Port is expected to handle 1.5 million tonnes of cement a year by 2020. In addition to the four current terminals, Malabar Cement, a Government of Kerala Company, has also been allotted land at Cochin port to set up a cement bagging terminal.