Kollam Port

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Kollam Port
കൊല്ലം തുറമുഖം
Port of Kollam, Mar 2016.jpg
Kollam Port
CountryIndia India
LocationCity of Kollam
Coordinates8°52′55″N 76°34′26″E / 8.881899°N 76.573781°E / 8.881899; 76.573781Coordinates: 8°52′55″N 76°34′26″E / 8.881899°N 76.573781°E / 8.881899; 76.573781
OpenedAD 825; 1194 years ago (825)
2007; 12 years ago (2007) (renovation)
Operated byThe Directorate of Ports, Government of Kerala
Owned byGovernment of Kerala
Size44 acres (0.18 km2)
Available berths2
Wharfs1 (177 metres)
1 (Under construction - 100 metres)
Port OfficerCaptain. Abraham V Kuriakose
World Port Index Number49160[1]
Electronic Data Interchange Code(EDI)INKUK1[2]
Vessel arrivals163 (after 2007)
Value of cargo2.2 million tonnes
Annual revenue62 million[3]
Main importsSand, Cashew, Tiles

Kollam Port is one of the historic ports situated 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) away from Downtown Kollam (formerly Quilon).[4] It is the second largest port in Kerala by volume of cargo handled and facilities. Located on the south-west coast of India, under the name of Quilon Port it became one of the country's most important trade hubs from the ninth to the seventeenth centuries. Kollam was one the five Indian ports visited by Ibn Battuta.[5][6][7]

It was founded by Mar Abo at Thangasseri in 825 as an alternative to reopening the inland seaport (kore-ke-ni kollam) near Backare, (Thevalakkara) also known as Nelcynda and Tyndis (now known as Thekkumbagam) to the Romans and Greeks and Thondi to the Tamils. V. Nagam Aiya in his Travancore State Manual records that in 822, two Nestorian Bishops Mar Sabor and Mar Proth, settled in Quilon with their followers. Two years later the Malabar Era began (824) and Quilon became the premier city of the Malabar Coast region ahead of Travancore and Cochin[8]


Kollam in the 1500s

Kollam was a port city of the Chera Dynasty until the formation of the independent Venad kingdom, of which it became the capital. Prior to 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.[9]

The port was founded by Mar Abo with sanction from Udayamarthandavarma the Tamil king of the Venad in 825 as an alternative to reopening the inland seaport of Kore-ke-ni Kollam near Backare (Thevalakara) also known as Nelcynda and Tyndis to the Romans and the Greeks and Thondi to the Tamils 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 seaport town near at Kollam instead of his request for renewing the almost vanishing Tyndis or Nelcynda inland seaport ( 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.[10] 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.

Kerala ports and cities c. 1500

In January 2014, the port trust discovered thousands of Chinese coins and stone age weapons at Kollam Port, revealing the historical background and trade culture of the port city.[11][12] This was the first discovery of such a quantity of artifacts at a port in India. These finds reveal that Kollam was the most important port city in India, which served as the business hub of people from China, Middle East, the Netherlands, Portugal, Brazil and other Eastern Mediterranean countries.[13][14] Archaeologists believe that an engulfed city lies on the seabed of current Kollam Port.

Today, ships frequently anchor at the port for shipping operations as well for urgent repairs when required.[15] Chief Minister Oommen Chandy launched the Coastal Shipping Project (CSP) at Kollam Port on 9 November 2013 while passenger ships began operations in 2014.[16] The first container ship, MV Suryamukhi arrived at Kollam port as part of the coastal shipping project on 18 January 2014, after a two-month delay.[17] Major shipping companies are now showing interest in the port to commence shipping operations. 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. The Great Sea Shipping Company will also berth at the port soon, carrying cashew from Kochi.[18] After modernization of the port, the first foreign ship anchored in the port on 4 April 2014.[19] Now it is proven that huge foreign ships can easily operate from Kollam Port. The tugs MT Chaliyar and MT Kerala along with a new German-made Rs. 12 crore crane is used for the maritime operations in the port.

A distant view of Kollam Port from Thangassery harbour


The wharf at Kollam Port is 177 metres (581 ft) in length and 12 metres (39 ft) wide with an available draught of 6.5 metres (21 ft), whereby vessels up to 15,000 DWT can berth directly. Dredging works are underway[when?] at the port to increase the draught to 10 metres (33 ft) at a cost of Rs.5.7 crores so that ships of 170 metres (560 ft) and above can easily anchor without the need to travel further to Kochi, Thoothukudi or Chennai. The wharf is protected from the waves by a 2,100 metres (6,900 ft) seaboard breakwater and a 500 metres (1,600 ft) leeward breakwater. The length of the wharf will be increased to 200 metres (660 ft) in due course. In 2007, Kollam Port handled about 500,000 tonnes of cargo.[20][21]

Hinterland and cargo[edit]

Capture of Kollam in 1661
Kollam in the 1800s

The primary hinterland of Kollam Port extends to Pathanamthitta and the southern parts of the Kottayam and Idukki districts; the central and southern parts of Alappuzha district, Kollam district and Thiruvananthapuram district with the Kanyakumari-Tirunelveli-Madurai and Teni districts of Tamil Nadu. Commodities currently handled or planned for the port include marble, tiles, sand, titanium ore, cashew nuts, kernels and nut shell liquid, seafood, clay, timber logs, sillimanite, titanium dioxide, blood products, newsprint and waste paper, cement, urea and muriate of potash for fertilizer, rubber, food, agricultural products and cement as well as other commodities and products for local companies such as Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Trivandrum and Kerala Minerals and Metals.

Development and modernisation[edit]

A dredger ship washed ashore at Mundakkal Beach, 2km away from Kollam Port

Several major modernization projects have been proposed for Kollam with Maldives port in order to transform it into the "port city of Kerala". Projects already planned are some of the largest ever mooted for the state. A facelift of the Maruthadi-Iravipuram area will be carried out by the government as part of the "Kollam Port City" project and will include facilities for sports, fishing, tourism and entertainment.[22] 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 at Neendakara in Kollam city[23][24][25]

Port of Kollam

The Indian State Cabinet approved a detailed project report to develop the port in April 2012. Split into two phases, the first will require an investment of Rs 1.11 billion and the second Rs 12.5 billion. The government has already invested Rs 7.106 billion as part of the first phase. A wharf will be laid out to the southeast of the port in the second stage of development.[26] A wharf with the capacity to accommodate six ships at a time is also planned.

EDI and online customs clearance facilities
Dredger ships anchored at Kollam Port

Kollam Port is one of the two ports in Kerala that have the facility to provide online customs clearance at the port with the help of Electronic data interchange (EDI). Kollam Port's EDI locator code is INKUK1. The Electronic Data Interface (EDI) facility of the Customs at the Kollam Port was commissioned on 6 January 2016 and this had enabled importers and exports to handle consignments meant for Kollam from anywhere in the world. The facility with a particular code was available round the clock. It replaced the manual system for Customs clearance at the port.[27]

With the help of this technology, import and export details of goods, tax amounts and payments will be converted into electronic format. This will enable smooth and speedy transportation of goods through the port. To facilitate this move, a high-speed dedicated Multiprotocol Label Switching enabled internet connection has been implemented at the port. Kollam will become the second port in Kerala to offer EDI enabled technology allowing it to offer more convenient container handling and transportation activities than Kochi Port and Tuticorin Port as the export-import rates at Kollam Port are significantly lower. There is also a proposal to export food products to The Maldives from Kollam Port.[28]

Co-operation with Tuticorin Port

As Kochi Port is approaching full capacity, the port department of Kerala and the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) have decided to cooperate with Tuticorin Port to import raw cashews for Kollam based cashew factories. According to the plan, raw cashews will arrive at Tuticorin Port and then be trans-shipped to Kollam Port aboard small container ships.[29][30] There is also a plan to set up a quarantine facility and cashew testing lab at the port with the support of CEPCI.[31]

Vessel tracking and monitoring system (VTMS)

The Ports Department of the Kerala Government has sanctioned Rs.28.8 million to install a vessel Tracking and Monitoring System (VTMS) at the port.[32]

Cruise ship and hovercraft services
Water tank inside the Port

The Ports Department together with Customs Officers and tour operators agreed to start Kollam-based cruise operations from April 2014. Initially, domestic only services are on offer although these may later be expanded to international services. Tour operators agree that the port has the potential for international cruise operations because of the tourism potential of the surrounding areas and have stated that the infrastructure of the port meets the requirements for cruise operations. They have also explored the possibilities of starting hovercraft services from the port. The plan is to start with a Kollam-Kochi service taking about three hours and 20 minutes to cover the distance.[33]

Industrial Development Zones

The government of Kerala has decided on industrial development projects around airports and ports in Kerala. Projects in the port area will be carries out with the help of the 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[34]

New Passenger Terminal and Cargo Terminal
Passenger terminal under construction

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurated the construction works of new Passenger Terminal at Kollam Port on 14 August 2015.[35] Opening of National Waterway-3 connecting Kollam city will invite more passengers to Kollam. Moreover, the new passenger terminal at Kollam Port aiming Lakshadweep Government's plans to start passenger ship services to Kollam city, as Kollam city is very close to Minicoy compared to Kochi.[36]

International ship arrived with raw cashews

'Intermarine', an international vessel from Singapore has anchored at Port of Kollam with 5,600 tonnes of raw cashew from the West African country of Guinea-Bissau on 30 August 2015, after a long gap of 47 years.[37] This opened ways for Kollam Port to provide needed facilities for international huge vessels and has popped up the cashew industry in Kollam city.[38] The direct deal between Kollam Port and international raw cashew exporters from Africa have given new hopes for giant cashew business groups in Kollam city, as a full load of raw cashew container can be transferred from Kollam Port to the processing units for a cost of Rs. 3000-4000. Earlier it was Rs. 17000-18000 for transferring from Kochi Port/Tuticorin Port to Kollam.

Weekly service to Kochi International Container Transshipment Terminal

In January 2016, a weekly service connecting Port of Kollam with International Container Transshipment Terminal in Kochi has been started in order to boost the cashew trade and other businesses in Kollam city and neighbouring places. The first feeder ship from Tanzania with 30 container loads of raw cashew had been docked at Kollam on 6 January 2016.[39] The containers were loaded on the feeder vessel from a ship that arrived at Vallarpadam with the consignment from Tanzania.[40] This service is expected to benefit customers as cargo landing in Kollam will ensure better visibility and control over inventory, besides saving cost. Since Kollam Port is the only modern port with all needed facilities in South Kerala, the feeder service will also benefit the traders and businessmen in Trivandrum, Pathanamthitta, Nagercoil, Marthandam and Kanyakumari with low-cost goods transportation and export-import facilities from Kollam Port.[41] The introduction of the shipping facility from Kollam will enable processors to cut costs to some extent. It will also serve to ease congestion on roads.

Port complex

Minister K. Babu laid the foundation stone for the Kollam port complex worth Rs.5-crore on 14 January 2016.[42]

Commencement of Roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) ship service

MV Maria, a 160-metre long Ro-Ro ship with a capacity to carry up to 150 loaded trucks and 210 cars, anchored at Kollam Port on 17 March 2016 from New Mangalore Port. This is the first ro-ro ship to call at any port in Kerala.[43]

Passenger ship service to Lakshadweep Islands

In October 2016, Kerala Ports Minister Kadannappalli Ramachandran announced passenger ship services from Kollam Port and Azheekal Port to Lakshadweep for opening up two new spokes connecting the islands with the mainland.[44] Officials from Government of Kerala and Kollam Municipal Corporation is expected to visit Minicoy, the southernmost atoll of Lakshadweep soon, to study the potential of the proposed ferry service to Kollam city. Plans of health department authorities are underway to bring visitors from Maldives and Lakshadweep to Kollam to make them aware of efficient but cheap medical facilities available here.[45][46]

Kerala Coastal Highway project
Kollam Port Road at Tangasseri. This road would become part of the coastal highway once materialized

The Government of Kerala has approved a 6,500 crores worth Coastal Highway project for the state. The highway will pass through almost all the major coastal cities in Kerala including Kollam.[47] The coastal highway passes through nine districts of the state, connecting the major ports of Vallarpadom, Kollam, Vizhinjam in Kerala along with several minor ports.[48]

Kollam-Colombo ship service

In 2018 October, Senior Director of the Singapore based X-Press Feeders Group, Nelson Sekera, met the Kerala Minister for Port Kadannappalli Ramachandran at Asramam Government Guest House and expressed their willingness to start Colombo-Kollam ship services. X-Press Feeders is owing nearly 100 ships.[49]

Services available at port[edit]

Some of the international shipping service providers have already started operations at Kollam Port for facilitating freight transfer to-and-fro Kollam Port, Ship Chandling, Ship Husbandry Services, Ship Spares Logistics, Bunkering Services etc. Pax Shipping, a private Indian shipping company has already started their operations at Kollam city offering Shipping and Port agency services and Ship Chandling which are the prime services required by ships while anchoring at any ports.[50]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "World Port Index". National Geospatial Intelligence Agenct. 2015.
  2. ^ "Kollam Port SEA(INKUK1) - e Commerce Portal Central Board of Excise & Customs". Central Board of Excise & Customs. 2015.
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ Kollam, Ashtamudi Lake - great alternatives to Kochi, Vembanad Lake
  5. ^ The Adventures of Ibn Battuta: A Muslim Traveler of the Fourteenth Century. Ross E. Dunn. 2010. ISBN 9780520931718.
  6. ^ "A requiem for Ashtamudi". Deccan Chronicle. 1 November 2017. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Ibn Battuta: International Trade at the Malabar Coast". Routledge. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  8. ^ Aiyya, V.V Nagom, State Manual p. 244
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ History of Kollam city and Kollam Port Quilon.com
  11. ^ Coins found from Kollam Port
  12. ^ Artifacts found from Kerala's ancient Port City
  13. ^ Emergence of antiques triggers treasure hunt in Kollam
  14. ^ Shards of the past point to Kollam port’s glory days
  15. ^ Ship berths at Kollam port
  16. ^ Passenger ships will start from Kollam this year: Chandy. Accessed 17 December 2013.
  17. ^ First Container Ship in Kollam Port
  18. ^ Shipping companies evince interest in Kollam Port
  19. ^ Foreign Ship Reaches Kollam Port
  20. ^ Kollam Port
  21. ^ V.S to Inaugurate Kollam Port
  22. ^ "Kollam - Port City Project". 2013.
  23. ^ "Rs 24.8 crore sanctioned for Maritime Institute". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  24. ^ "Rs 24.8 crore sanctioned for Maritime Institute". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  25. ^ "Kerala Maritime Institute Inaugurated". The New Indian Express. 22 February 2016. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  26. ^ "Thangassery port plans get Cabinet nod". 2014.
  27. ^ "EDI Location Codes & Places(No.130 Kollam Port) - e-Commerce Portal Central Board of Excise & Customs". Central Board of Excise & Customs. 2015.
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) Online Customs Clearance Facility for Kollam Port to be ready in a month
  29. ^ "Kollam, Tuticorin ports plan tie-up". 2014.
  30. ^ "Ships to Kollam With Raw Cashews". 2014.
  31. ^ [1] Kollam Port for tourism enthusiasts too
  32. ^ [2] Rs 2.88 cr Sanctioned
  33. ^ "Kollam Port ready for cruise operations". 2014.
  34. ^ "Impetus for Projects Around Ports, Airports". 2014.
  36. ^ "Lakshadweep keen on investing in Kollam port". The Hindu. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  37. ^ "Direct Imports Cheer up Cashew Industry". The Hindu. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  38. ^ "Direct Imports Cheer up Cashew Industry". TNIE. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  39. ^ "First container ship with raw cashew calls at Kollam". The Hindu. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  40. ^ "Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide". TNIE. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  41. ^ "ICTT Records Stronger Business Growth in 2015". TNIE. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  42. ^ "Work on port office building begins". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  43. ^ "Ro-ro ship to call at Kollam today". The Hindu. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  44. ^ "Hydrofoil ferry service soon". The Hindu. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  45. ^ "Ferry service to L'dweep to open up new vistas". TNIE. 25 October 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  46. ^ "Road show in Maldives to attract tourists to Kollam". TNIE. 15 September 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  47. ^ "Kerala's 623-km-long coastal highway to be ready by 2020". Mathrubhumi. 21 September 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  48. ^ "Pallikkara ROB work to begin soon". The Hindu. 20 September 2017. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  49. ^ "Colombo-Kollam ship service to become a reality". Mathrubhumi. 25 October 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  50. ^ "Pax Shipping". Pax Shipping. Retrieved 8 September 2015.

External links[edit]