Port Infrastructure and Shipping Industry – Sagarmala Project, SDC, CEZ, etc.

Protests against Vizhinjam Port


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Vizhinjam Port Project

Mains level: Transshipment hub: Economic potential


Kerala’s ambitious Vizhinjam port project for a transshipment container terminal is caught in protests and violence.

Vizhinjam Port Project

  • In 2015, the Adani Group signed a concession agreement with the Kerala government to build India’s first mega transshipment container terminal at Vizhinjam near Thiruvananthapuram.
  • The ₹7,525 crore project — an all-weather deep-sea port with a depth of 24 meters — can service large megamax-sized container ships.
  • This natural port has no littoral sedimentation, obviating the need for periodic dredging and lowers maintenance costs.
  • The port, which is well-connected to the hinterland, will handle 1 million twenty-foot equivalent units in Phase-I and another 6.2 million TEUs when completed.

Significance of the project for India?

  • Transshipment hub: The Vizhinjam Port holds the potential to attract a large share of container transshipment traffic that is now handled by Colombo, Singapore or Dubai.
  • Important shipping lane: It located just off the International Shipping Lane and close to the East-West Shipping Axis.
  • Cargo handling: A large share of India’s exports and imports that are now transshipped through these international ports can be handled at Vizhinjam.
  • Reducing logistic costs: It would mean a sharp reduction in shipping costs and lead time. This will go a long way in reducing overall logistics costs and making manufacturing competitive.
  • Employment generation: It will also create thousands of jobs – directly and otherwise.

Reasons for protests

  • Local fishermen fear displacement and loss of livelihood. They blame higher tides and increasing coastal erosion on the project.
  • Protests has some leftist leaning inherently opposing every development project.
  • A Latin Catholic Church has been at the forefront of the protests.
  • Many right-wing outfits have thrown their weight behind the project and want its quick completion.
  • They blame foreign funding for what they call ‘anti-development’ protests.


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