Vizhinjam International Seaport
India's first semi-automated container port, the Vizhinjam International Seaport on Thursday welcomed its first mothership, 'San Fernando' Image Credit: X@PortOfVizhinjam

New Delhi: India's first semi-automated container port, the Vizhinjam International Seaport on Thursday welcomed its first mothership, 'San Fernando'. The Ship was welcomed by Kerala's Minister of Ports V N Vasavan and Minister for Food and Civil Supplies G R Anil along with other officials at the port.

The San Fernando, carrying nearly 2,000 containers, is anchored at the port as part of a trial run ahead of the commencement of commercial operations.

The Vizhinjam International Seaport has been built by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd, (APSEZ). The port is built with a total investment of Rs 8,867 crore (1 crore is 10 million). The state government of Kerala has contributed about Rs 5,595 crore while the central government contributed Rs 818 crore for the port.Built on the public-private partnership, Vizhinjam International Port's construction started in 2016. The project was allotted to APSEZ on December 5, 2015, after the Government of Kerala and Adani Vizhinjam Port Private Ltd. (AVPPL) agreed to a concession agreement on August 17, 2015.

'A monumental moment'

Elated over the arrival of the port's first containership, the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan said in a post on X (formerly Twitter), "This Friday (July 12), the Vizhinjam International Seaport in Thiruvananthapuram will host a grand celebration to welcome its first mothership, San Fernando, a Maersk Line Vessel. This event signifies a monumental moment in Kerala's maritime history and stands as a testament to the unwavering commitment of the Left Democratic Front government to the state's development."

Vijayan appreciated Adani Group saying, "Adani Group, the builders and operators of the port, deserve appreciation for their efforts in ensuring the completion of this project. Vizhinjam Port exemplifies a successful public-private partnership, highlighting the potential of collaborative development. Join us in celebrating this historic achievement that marks a new era of progress and prosperity for Kerala."

Last year in October, Karan Adani, Chief Executive Officer of Adani Ports and SEZ Limited (APSEZ) announced that the port would be capable of docking some of the largest container ships in the world and would also emerge as a global bunkering hub, supplying green fuel like hydrogen and ammonia.

While addressing the inaugural ship docking ceremony at Vizhinjam International Seaport, in October last year Karan Adani said the port has the potential to compete with leading global ports like Colombo, Singapore, Port Klang and Jebel Ali.

He termed the project as the most challenging project that APSEZ has ever taken and executed.

"This project was very tough as we had to encounter repeated disruptions from cyclone Ockhi to the super floods of 2018 - a once-in-a-century occurrence, followed by a devastating flood in 2019...the worldwide Covid pandemic unleashed lockdowns and waves of disruption in 2020 and 2021. But we held on," he had said. The Vizhinjam International Seaport has created over 5,000 direct jobs and will significantly boost the industry, commerce, transportation, and tourism sectors.