Kollam Port

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Kollam Port
കൊല്ലം തുറമുഖം
View of Kollam Port from Lighthouse.jpg
Kollam Port as seen from Thangassery Lighthouse
Country India India
Location City of Kollam
Coordinates 8°34′N 76°21′E / 8.56°N 76.35°E / 8.56; 76.35Coordinates: 8°34′N 76°21′E / 8.56°N 76.35°E / 8.56; 76.35
Opened AD 825
Operated by The Directorate of Ports, Government of Kerala
Owned by Government of Kerala
Available berths 2
Wharfs 1
Chairman Aswini Prathap
Electronic Data Interchange Code(EDI) INKUK1[1]
Value of cargo 2.2 million tonnes
Annual revenue 62 million[2]

Kollam Port is one of 20 major ports in India, which is situated 4 km away from heart of the City of Kollam - The Cashew Capital of the World.[3] It is the second largest port in Kerala by volume of cargo handled and facilities. It is located on the west coast of India. Kollam city was one of the most famous trade hubs in India during AD 800-1800 period.

Kollam sea port was founded by Mar Abo at Thangasseri in 825 AD instead of reopening the inland sea port (kore-ke-ni kollam) near Backare (Thevalakkara) also known as Nelcynda and Tyndis (now known as Kadalundi) to the Romans and The Greeks and Thondi to the Taamils and is also the foundation of the new city. V. Nagam Aiya in his Travancore State Manual records that in 822 AD two Nestorian Bishops Mar Sapor and Mar Peroz, settled in Quilon with their followers. Two years later the Malabar Era began (824 AD) and Quilon undoubtedly became the premier city of the Malabar region including Travancore and Cochin”[4]

Now the Port is governed by the Directorate of Ports Department of Government of Kerala. The modern Cargo Port in Kollam was commissioned on 19 October 1997 and inaugurated by Sri. V.S Achuthanandan, the then Chief Minister of Kerala.[5] Now a customs clearance centre and cement packing terminal is working in the port. The wharf can easily handle ships up to 200 Meters in length. Kollam(Quilon) Port is an ideal place to anchor on calm days [6]

Kollam is very famous for its traditional cashew business and mineral sand deposit. The Kollam coast is a blessed coastal belt with the best mineral sand deposit of the country. Public sector companies in Kerala like Indian Rare Earths, Kerala Minerals and Metals etc are doing huge business activities in India and abroad. These kinds of businesses can be converted through Kollam Port. More than 600 Cashew Processing Units are there in Kollam. About 800,000 tonnes of raw cashews are importing to Kollam for processing every year.[7] An average of 130,000 tonnes of processed cashews are exporting from Kollam to various countries like USA, UAE, Netherlands, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Singapore, Italy, Greece, Australia, Kuwait, Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Canada, Thailand, Russia, Norway, Syria, and Hong Kong every year.[8] CEPCI is expecting a rise in export, ie 275,000 tonnes by 2020, a growth of 120 per cent over the present exports.[9] These can be converted through Kollam Port.


Kollam was a port city of the Chera Dynasty until the formation of the Venad kingdom, when it became the capital of the independent Venad kingdom. Before that, Kollam was considered one of the four early entrepots in the global sea trade around the 13th century, along with Alexandria and Cairo in Egypt, the Chinese city of Quanzhou, and Malacca in the Malaysian archipelago.[10]

Kollam sea port was founded by Mar Abo with sanction from Udayamarthandavarma the Tamil king from Venad otherwise called Ay kingdom in 825 AD instead of re opening the inland sea port (kore-ke-ni kollam) near Backare (Thevalakara) also known as Nelcynda and Tyndis to the Romans and The Greeks and Thondi to the Taamils and is also the foundation of the new city. It is also believed that Mar Abo actually volunteered to the Chera king to create a new sea port town near at Kollam instead of his request for renewing the almost vanishing Tyndis or Nelcynda inland sea port ( kore-ke-ni) at Kollam, lying idle without trade for a few centuries because of the Cheras being overrun by Pallavas in the 6th century AD ending the spice trade from Malabar coast. This allowed Mar Abo to stay for many decades in Chera kingdom and streamline Christian faith among the Nampoothiri Vaishnavites &Nair sub castes in the St. Thomas tradition with Syrian liturgy as Reference for the Doctrine of Trinity without replacing the Sanskrit and Vedic prayers.[11] The Chinese traders were one of the oldest foreign communities to settle in Kollam. That was the period when Kollam evolved as a major trade center (of spices) and an important port along the Malabar coast.

A distant view of Kollam Port from Thangassery harbour
Kollam in the 1500s
Kerala Ports & Cities C.1500

In January 2014, the port trust had discovered thousands of Chinese coins and stone age weapons from the Kollam Port, which is revealing the amazing historic background and trade culture of the port city.[12][13] This is first time that these much of artifacts are getting from a port in India. The emergence of antiques from Kollam Port area reveals that Kollam was the most famous port city in India which served as the business hub of people from China, Middle East, Deutch, Portugal, Brazil and other Eastern Mediterranean countries.[14][15] The archaeologists believe that there is an engulfed city in the seabed of current Kollam Port.

Ships are anchoring in the port frequently for the shipping operations as well as repairing(in urgency).[16] Chief Minister Oommen Chandy launched the Coastal Shipping Project (CSP) at the Kollam Port on 2013 November 9. Passenger ships will start operating from the Kollam Port by 2014.[17] The first container ship, MV Suryamukhi arrived at Kollam port as part of the coastal shipping project on 18 January 2014, after two months of delay.[18] Major shipping companies are now showing interest in Kollam Port to start their shipping operations from Kollam. The companies have plans to choose the port as an intermediate base. At present, about four companies have assured their frequent presence at the port. Sooryamukhi, the chartered ship of Kerala State Maritime Development Corporation has sailed to Mudra Port in Gujarat to load tiles and building materials. Great Sea Shipping Company will also berth at the port soon, carrying cashew from Kochi.[19] After modernization of port, the first foreign ship anchored in the port on 4 April 2014.[20] Now it is proven that huge foreign ships can easily operate from Kollam Port. Tugs named 'M.T Chaliyar' and 'MT Kerala' and the new German made Rs. 12 crore crane are used for the maritime operations in the port.

Layout of the port[edit]

The total legth of the existing wharf in Kollam Port is 177 meters and the width is 12 meters. The available draught is 6.5 meters where by vessels of size up to 15,000 DWT can be directly berthed at wharf. The dredging works are going on in the port to increase the draught to 10 meters at a cost of Rs.5.7 crores, so that the giant ships with length of 170+ meters can easily anchor in the port without depending other ports like Kochi, Tuticorin and Chennai. The wharf is protected from wave effect by seaward breakwater of 2100 meter long and leeward breakwater of 500 meter long. The length of the wharf will be increased to 200 metres in due course. The port was expected to handle about 5 lakh tonnes of cargo a year.[21][22]

Hinterland and Cargo[edit]

Capture of Kollam in 1661
Kollam in the 1800s

The primary hinterland of the Kollam Port extends to Pathanamthitta and southern parts of Kottayam district and Idukki district, South and middle portions of Alappuzha district, Kollam district and Thiruvananthapuram district with the Kanyakumari-Tirunelveli-Madurai and Teni districts of Tamil Nadu. The considered and currently handling commodities include Marbles, Tiles, Sand, Commodities for other companies like Vikram Sarabai Space Centre in Trivandrum and KMML in Kollam, Titanium ore, Cashew nuts, Cashew Kernels, nut shell liquids, Seafood, Clay, Timber logs, Sillamanite, Titanium-di-oxide, Blood bags, Newsprint / waste paper, Equipment / raw materials, Cement, Finished fertilizers (Urea & Muriate of Potash) Timber logs, Rubber, Food & agri products, Cement etc.


Some of the big modernization projects have already proposed for the Kollam Port as well as the City of Kollam for making it as a Port City of Kerala. The projects that have already planned are supposed to be one of the biggest projects ever planned for the state of Kerala. The Government of Kerala have decided to do a face lift of Maruthadi-Iravipuram area of the city as part of the "Kollam Port City" project. Sports, Fishing, Tourism and entertainment projects will be implemented in this region as part of the project.[23] Dredging works are going on for increasing the depth of the port, so that huge ships can easily anchor at the port. As part of the modernization, Government of Kerala have already established a Maritime Institute in Neendakara.

Tugs - M.T Kerala, M.T Chaliyar
Crane - SH120 Liebherr Mobile Crane

Modernisation worth Rs.236 crores[edit]

Port of Kollam

The State Cabinet has approved a detailed project report to develop the port on April 2012. 2 phases of developments would be there. The first phase will require investment of Rs 111 crore and the second, Rs 125 crore. The Government has already invested Rs 71.06 crore as part of the first phase. A wharf will be laid out to the southeast of the port periphery in the second stage of development.[23] Government of Kerala is also planning to build a wharf for the port with a capacity to accommodate 6 ships at a time.

Electronic Data Interchange(EDI) & Online Customs Clearance Facility[edit]

Kollam Port is one among the two ports in Kerala that has the facility to provide online customs clearance at the port with the help of Electronic data interchange technology. Kollam Port's EDI code or Locator Code is INKUK1.[24]

With the help of this technology, import & export details of goods, tax amounts and payments etc. would be converted into electronic format. This will enable smooth and speedy transportation of goods through the port. For this, a high-speed dedicated Multiprotocol Label Switching enabled internet connectivity, state of the art infrastructures for online customs clearance centre etc. have been completed in the port. Kollam would become the 2nd port in Kerala having the Electronic data interchange enabled technology for transportation based activities. This would help Kollam Port to do the container handling and transportation activities more easily than Kochi Port and Thoothukudi Port as the Export-Import rates of Kollam Port is very less compared to these ports. There is also a proposal for exporting food products to Maldives from Kollam Port.[25]

Tie-up with Tuticorin Port[edit]

As Kochi Port is getting busy, the port department of Kerala and Cashew Export Promotion Council of India has decided to go for a tie-up with Tuticorin Port to import raw cashews for the Kollam based factories. As per the new plan, raw cashews will arrive Tuticorin Port and from there, it would be shifted to Kollam Port in small container ships.[23][26] There is a plan to setup a quarantine facility and a cashew testing lab at the Port with the support of the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India.[27]

Vessel Tracking and Monitoring System (VTMS) Installation[edit]

The Ports Department of Kerala Government has sanctioned Rs.2.88 Crore for installing Vessel Tracking and Monitoring System (VTMS) at the Kollam Port.[28]

Cruise Ships & Hovercraft Services from Kollam Port[edit]

A decision has been taken in a general meeting organised by the Ports Department with Customs Officers & tour operators that Kollam-based cruise operations could commence from April. They have decided to start with some domestic services which could be later expanded to international services. The tour operators who have attended the meeting agreed that the Kollam Port had the potential for international cruise operations because of the tourism potential of the surrounding areas. They said that the infrastructure of the port met the requirements for cruise operations. They have also explored the possibilities of starting Hovercraft services from the Kollam port. The plan is to start with a Kollam-Kochi service taking only about three hours and 20 minutes to cover the distance.[29]

Industrial Development Zone[edit]

Government of Kerala have decided to develop industrial development projects around airports and ports in Kerala state. The project is coming up in the surrounding areas of Kollam Port with the help of Infrastructure Development Finance Company. Industrial Development Zones will be set up in districts such as Kozhikode, Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kannur and Kollam, which have either ports or airports. Townships will also be built adjacent to these facilities[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kollam Port SEA(INKUK1) - e Commerce Portal Central Board of Excise & Customs". Central Board of Excise & Customs. 2015. 
  2. ^ http://www.keralaports.gov.in/doc/Kollam%20Final%20DFR/Annexures%20to%20DFR/Annexure%2013/Annexure%2013.1%20-%20Scenario%201%20Option%201.pdf Profit & Loss statement of Kollam Port
  3. ^ Kollam, Ashtamudi Lake - great alternatives to Kochi, Vembanad Lake
  4. ^ Aiyya, V.V Nagom, State Manual p. 244
  5. ^ Kollam cargo port to be commissioned
  6. ^ Portbooker.com about Kollam port.
  7. ^ [1] Online Customs Clearance Facility for Kollam Port to be ready in a month
  8. ^ [2] Rise in earnings from cashew kernel exports - The Hindu
  9. ^ [3] CEPCI - Kollam
  10. ^ et al], Robert Tignor [et (2010). Worlds together, worlds apart : a history of the world from the beginnings of humankind to the present (3rd ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Co. p. 365. ISBN 9780393934922. 
  11. ^ History of Kollam city and Kollam Port Quilon.com
  12. ^ Coins found from Kollam Port
  13. ^ Artifacts found from Kerala's ancient Port City
  14. ^ Emergence of antiques triggers treasure hunt in Kollam
  15. ^ Shards of the past point to Kollam port’s glory days
  16. ^ Ship berths at Kollam port
  17. ^ Passenger ships will start from Kollam this year: Chandy. Accessed 17 December 2013.
  18. ^ First Container Ship in Kollam Port
  19. ^ Shipping companies evince interest in Kollam Port
  20. ^ Foreign Ship Reaches Kollam Port
  21. ^ Kollam Port
  22. ^ V.S to Inaugurate Kollam Port
  23. ^ a b c "Kollam - Port City Project". 2013. 
  24. ^ "EDI Location Codes & Places(No.130 Kollam Port) - e-Commerce Portal Central Board of Excise & Customs". Central Board of Excise & Customs. 2015. 
  25. ^ [4] Online Customs Clearance Facility for Kollam Port to be ready in a month
  26. ^ "Ships to Kollam With Raw Cashews". 2014. 
  27. ^ [5] Kollam Port for tourism enthusiasts too
  28. ^ [6] Rs 2.88 cr Sanctioned
  29. ^ "Kollam Port ready for cruise operations". 2014. 
  30. ^ "Impetus for Projects Around Ports, Airports". 2014. 

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