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PM to launch of first hydrogen fuel vessel developed indigenously at Cochin Shipyard

By TIOL News Service

NEW DELHI, FEB 28, 2024: UNION Minister for the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, Sarbanananda Sonowal, yesterday briefed the press in Chennai in the presence of Shantanu Thakur, Minister of State for Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, and TK Ramachandaran, Secretary, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, about the tomorrow's upcoming event at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu.

During the press briefing, he informed the media that as part of advancing 'Viksit Bharat', Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil 36 infrastructure projects worth over INR 17,000 Crore at VO Chidambaranar Port, Tuticorin tomorrow. The event is being organized jointly by the Ministries of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways; Road Transport and Highways; and Railways. These projects represent a concerted effort to improve connectivity, strengthen transportation infrastructure, and bolster maritime capabilities throughout Tamil Nadu.

Three types of projects will be unveiled at the event: foundation stone laying, national projects, and inaugurations. These projects are worth over INR 10,324 crore, INR 1,477 crore, and INR 4,586 crore, respectively, and they are related to the maritime industries transportation and railroads.

Sonowal said, "A few years ago, the Prime Minister announced that Government will take steps to make VoC Port as the Transshipment Hub of East Coast of India and Tomorrow this Guarantee is going to be fulfilled. Prime Minister Modi is set to lay the foundation stone for the Outer Harbour Container Terminal project at VOC port, a venture valued at Rs. 7,056 Crore."

"Moreover, the Prime Minister will inaugurate VOC Port as India's pioneering Green Hydrogen Hub, aligning with the National Green Hydrogen Mission and India's goal of achieving Net Zero emissions by 2070. Additionally, marking a stride towards a self-reliant India, he will unveil India's 1st hydrogen fuel vessel developed indigenously at Cochin Shipyard Limited. This Zero Emission, Zero Noise Vessel is a revolutionary step towards India becoming a Hydrogen Fuel Vessel Manufacturer. The other project of SCI on retrofitting existing ships to operate on green hydrogen or its derivatives aims to facilitate the adoption of environmentally sustainable fuel sources for ship propulsion", added Sonowal".

The goal of the Green Tug Transition Programme (GTTP) is to convert at least 50% of all tugs into Green Tugs by 2030 and to have Green Tugs operating at all major ports. JNPA, DPA, PPA, and VoCPA will purchase two brand-new green tugs (battery-electric powered) from Cochin Shipyard by 2027 as part of the first phase.

While sharing the growth achieved in the last 10 years, Sarbananda Sonowal mentioned, "A remarkable transformation has taken place in the capacity and efficiency of three major ports, witnessing a doubling of their throughput from approximately 167 MTPA to 338 MTPA. Moreover, turnaround times have been slashed by over 50%, with notable examples including VOC Port, which reduced its turnaround time from 94 hours to 46 hours, and Kamarajar Port Limited (KPL), which saw a remarkable decrease from 101 to 45 hours."

The port modernization projects scheduled to be inaugurated tomorrow are mostly under the Sagarmala Program of the MoPSW. It is noteworthy that in the state of Tamil Nadu, there are 98 Sagarmala projects worth Rs. 93,671. Cr. being implemented; 50 projects worth Rs 35,247 Cr. have already been completed, 19 projects worth Rs. 13,658 Cr. are under construction, and 29 projects worth Rs. 44,765 Cr. are under various stages of development.

"MoPSW has given immense focus on the major ports located at Tamil Nadu and development of trade and industry through initiatives such as Sagarmala, Bharatmala, MIV 2030, PM GATI Sakti Master Plan etc.  In a concerted effort to uplift the lives of coastal communities, the Sagarmala initiative has played a pivotal role, providing funding support for the completion of four fishing harbor projects in Kunthukal, Poompuhar, Chinnamuttom, and Mookaiyur. These projects not only enhance local livelihoods but also contribute to the socio-economic development of the region," he added.

"Furthermore, emphasizing the importance of skill development, the Directorate General of Shipping has 37 Maritime Training Institutes (MTIs) across Tamil Nadu. With a combined intake capacity of 3,37,758 students and employing 1,644 faculty members, these institutes serve as pillars for nurturing maritime talent, ensuring a skilled workforce ready to meet the demands of the maritime industry," Sarbananda Sonowal stated.

NTCPWC has been set up in IIT Chennai for Innovation in maritime sector under Sagarmala program. Till date more than 100 Projects/ Products worth Rs.200 Cr. have been developed by NTCPWC resulting in cost saving to the extent of more than Rs.1,500 Crore. This center has adopted advanced engineering techniques, Artificial Intelligence (AI), digitalization of port processes, implementation of state-of-the-art equipment to roll out the cutting-edge technologies.

While talking about the other major project namely Eastern Maritime Corridor to Vladivostok, Russia from Chennai, Sonowal said, ‘This Corridor will reduce both time and distance in cargo transportation between India and Far East Russia. Compared to the Western Sea Route via the Suez Canal, the corridor slashes travel time by up to 16 days, reducing the journey from 40 to 24 days. Additionally, the distance from Chennai Port to Vladivostok Port is notably shorter by up to 40%, spanning 5,647 Nautical Miles or 10,458 kilometers. This represents a clear-cut saving of 5,608 kilometers compared to the traditional route, promising immense cost savings in logistics and a marked enhancement in cargo transportation efficiency between the two nations'.

"Another booming industry in which Tamil Nadu is making notable progress is cruise tourism, which is supported by the proactive initiatives led by the Central Government. An even bigger milestone was reached with opening of Cordelia Cruises to Sri Lanka, which will be followed shortly by the start of domestic cruises later this year", he said.

India aims to increase cruise passenger traffic from 0.4 million at present to 4 million. Economic potential of Cruise tourism is expected to go up from USD 110 million to USD 5.5 billion in the years to come. In order to boost cruise tourism industry in the country, Government of India has taken several initiatives including infrastructure

Upgradation, rationalization of port fees, removing ousting charges, granting priority berthing to cruise ships, providing e-visa facilities etc.

While talking about the Cruise Tourism sector Sonowal said, ‘This  is another area where Tamil Nadu has made great achievements due to the steps taken by the Central Government through the launch of Cordelia Cruises to Sri Lanka and now domestic cruises are starting from this year onwards'.

PM Modi will also dedicate a project of the Ministry of Railways, part of the Vanchi Maniyachchi - Nagercoil Doubling Project, which is worth Rs. 1,477 Crore and four projects of the Ministry of Roads, Transports, and Highways projects in Tamil Nadu, worth Rs. 4,586 Crore. A project worth INR 986 Crore, initiated by ISRO, will also be launched by the PM.

The event will be graced by distinguished dignitaries, including R.N. Ravi, Governor, Tamil Nadu; Sarbananda Sonowal, Union MoPSW & AYUSH; pad Yesso Naik, MoS for PSW & Tourism; Shantanu Thakur, MoS for PSW; E.V. Velu, Minister for Public Works, Highways, Tamil Nadu and Minor Ports and Smt. Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, Member of Parliament.


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