Vizhinjam International Seaport

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Vizhinjam International Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport
വിഴിഞ്ഞം അന്താരാഷ്ട്ര തുറമുഖം
Vizhinjam International Seaport Logo.png
Country  India
Location Vizhinjam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

08°22′45″N 76°59′29″E / 8.37917°N 76.99139°E / 8.37917; 76.99139

Vizhinjam is located in India
Vizhinjam (India)
Operated by Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd
Owned by Government of Kerala
Draft depth 22m

Vizhinjam International Seaport is a port under construction by the Arabian Sea at Trivandrum in India.[1] The total project expenditure is pegged at 6595 crores over three phases and is proposed to follow the landlord port model with a view to catering to passenger, container and other clean cargo.

Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited (VISL) is a special purpose government company (fully owned by Government of Kerala) that would act as an implementing agency for the development of a greenfield port - Vizhinjam International Deepwater Multi purpose Seaport- at Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram, capital city of Kerala.

Project History[edit]

The Vizhinjam Port was originally conceived about 25 years ago. The initial project model was suggested as the Public Private Partnership (PPP)- Private Services model. Two rounds of bidding and tenders called under the PPP model ended up as a failure as a result of various reasons including the inherent un-viability of the project's economic rationale. The first round was granted to a Chinese company that failed to secure the security clearance from the Center, the second round which was first awarded to Lanco Group and then challenged in the Kerala High Court by Zoom Developers led to the eventual withdrawal by Lanco Group. The Kerala cabinet on June 10, 2015, decided to award the multi-thousand crore Vizhinjam international port and deep-water container transshipment terminal to Adani Ports and SEZ, the sole bidder.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group is currently the transaction advisor to VISL. The IFC was appointed in November 2009 as the lead advisor to the Vizhinjam Port. The IFC undertook in 2009 - 2010 a series of studies and reports that recommended the State to undertake the project under the Landlord Model. The Landlord model would see the State make the final investment of over 1 Billion USD to build the port. As opposed to the PPP model where the Private Partner would bear the cost of the port. The IFC has also undertaken the task of conducting the Environmental Impact Assessment Study of the Container Port.

After the IFC recommended landlord model was accepted by the State Government, a bidding round concluded with a consortium led by Welspun being the sole eligible company for the port operator role. The Welspun Group however requested a grant of about 480 Crores (Approximately 90 Million USD as a grant in terms of Net Present Value over 16 years). Negotiations between the State Government and the Welspun Group resulted in Welspun agreeing to reduce the grant to 400 Crores (Reduction of about 15 Million USD). This offer was rejected by the Kerala State Government since the terms of the Public Private Partnership saw no economic rationale for the State Government.

IFC has commissioned a team of consultants for the implementation of the project.

• Technical design and environmental and social study by Royal Haskoning.

• Investment quality market study by Drewry Shipping Consultants.

• International legal team of Allen & Overy (Singapore) and Trilegal (India).

• Asian Consulting Engineers who undertook the Environmental Impact Assessment after being contracted to do so by the IFC

Expert Apprisal Committee of the Ministry of Environment had recommended clearance for the project on 3 December 2013.Tenders for construction of break water and fish landing centre and Port operator were floated on very next day.

Project Details[edit]

The port development is proposed to follow the landlord port model where the dredging, reclamation as well as basic external infrastructure work like construction of break-water and quay wall will be taken up by VISL. Further, it is also expected to monitor Land Acquisition, road/rail infrastructure, water and power supply required for the construction and operations of the port on behalf of Government of Kerala (GoK).

The port terminal will be developed under Public Private Partnership(PPP) model wherein the construction and operation of the port terminal would be on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis. The port development along with the external infrastructure work is envisaged to be carried out in phases with the cumulative cost estimated to be around Rs. 6595 crore. The port is envisaged to provide in total 2000m of quay length in three phases and is designed to cater primarily for containers transshipment, besides providing for other type of cargo such as Multi-Purpose, Break Bulk.

The construction of basic civil infrastructure viz. dredging, land reclamation, construction of breakwaters and quay wall, as also land acquisition, road/rail connectivity and other external infrastructure required in phase 1 and the cost for the same is estimated to be Rs. 3040 crore. The said project cost is proposed to be funded through Rs. 1130 cr as equity from GoK and balance amount is proposed to be raised as debt through loans from banks/ institutions and through bonds.


During the last decade, there has been a steady growth of container traffic at the Indian ports. Currently, the majority of these ports rely on direct services or use far off ports for their transshipment needs. This necessitates the establishment of an International Deepwater Seaport and Container Transshipment Terminal in the Southern Indian Peninsula.

The port is proposed at Vizhinjam, 16 km away from Thiruvananthapuram, capital of State of Kerala. Kerala being the southern most state in India beset by Arabian Sea. The proposed Vizhinjam port is just 10 nautical miles from the International Shipping Lane. The Vizhinjam port is endowed with a natural seawater depth of up to 24 m as close as one nautical mile from the seacoast. Due to this natural depth, Vizhinjam can attract the largest container vessels currently in operation and also the future mega container carriers. Site needs minimal capital dredging thus the project cost and maintenance cost will be minimum.


CAG Report[edit]

The observations made by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the concession agreement entered by Kerala government with Adani Ports had initiated some controversies. The CAG report says “In the current agreement, the concession period was fixed as 40 years. By allowing 10 years extra concession period, the Concessionaire would be collecting additional revenue of 29,217 crore”[2]

According to Mr. Oommen Chandy, the then Chief Minister of Kerala, “The comments of AG has created some doubts in the minds of the people, which is not realistic and true to facts.”[3] Supporters of the project see external interference in the CAG report[4] and that some international lobbies were working against[5] the project which is being built by the most successful port operator in India.[6]

Concession period[edit]

Dr. Jose Paul, former chairman of Mormugao Port Trust, opines that the charges made by CAG are baseless. “When an entirely new port is to be built on new locations, a longer period is granted to enable the investor to develop basic infrastructure such as breakwater, approach channels, navigational aids, berths, back up area, and equipment. The concession period given by Andhra Pradesh in 2008 for Krishnapatnam port in Nellore is for 50 years; 30 years with provision for extensions of two 10-year periods up to 50 years. Maharashtra has given a 50-year concession to develop Jaigarh port in Ratnagiri with an option to have another 50 years on mutual consent.“[7]

It is also pointed out that in the previous agreements / draft agreements for the project, the 30 year term excludes the construction period, whereas the 40 year concession period in the current agreement includes the time to get clearance from various departments and the actual port construction period - giving only less than 6 'extra years' normally. The inclusion of construction period in the agreed time frame gives a motivation to the concessionaire to complete the project quickly. “Adani Vizhinjam Ports has already announced that the work on the first phase will be completed within 1,000 days, although, as per the agreement, it has four years to do the same.”[8]

Investment Share & Stake of Revenue[edit]


  • Vizhinjam is an all-weather port located on the Southern tip of the sub-continent, it is just 10-12 nautical miles from the busy Persian Gulf - Malacca shipping lanes which carry almost a one third of the world shipping traffic.
  • Central to the eastern and western coast lines of India - can cater to the needs of both west and east coast.
  • The proposed transshipment terminal will be an ideal location for attracting mainline vessels ranging from Post Panamax to Malacca-max in a phased manner.
  • The proposed site is endowed with natural depth of more than 20 m as close as one Nautical Mile from the sea coast.
  • The proposed site has minimal Littoral drift and as such would hardly require any maintenance dredging during the years of operation. This will result in low O&M Costs.
  • The proposed port is a Green-field project, away from urban/city limits, and thus can be master planned and shaped by the professional and experienced developer as per his own efficient designs and needs. The Port can turn out to be an efficient, modern and highly productive port with design, expertise and experience of the successful developer having international experience in such ports.
  • Once the port is up, Indian exporters will not have to rely on foreign ports for trans-shipment of cargo. It is expected to save at least 1000 crores in expenditure annually.[9]

Tourism Potential[edit]

  • Kerala was listed as one of the 10 paradises in the world by National Geographic.[10]
  • Specialized cruise facilities charging competitive rates can promote significant tourism.
  • Kovalam (2 km) , Poovar and Varkala (50 km) are major tourist destinations in India.
  • Kollam, a popular gateway for backwaters & lagoon excursions is less than 2 hours drive.

Proposed Project Plan[edit]

An artist's impression of the proposed Vizhinjam Port

Proposed project plan for International Container Transshipment Terminal.[citation needed]

Phase Berth Length (Meters) Capacity (Million TEUs) Project Cost ( Billion)
Phase-I 800 1.8 23.9
Phase-II 1200 3.0 11.0
Phase-III 2000 5.3 18.6
Total 53.5

Note: The above estimates are subject to revision ,in consultation with successful project partners.

How to reach[edit]

Nearest Name Distance
Airport Trivandrum International Airport 10 km
Railway station Trivandrum Central 12 km
City Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) 10 km

Recent Developments[edit]


  1. Vizhinjam Port in Triandrum
  1. ^ "Vizhinjam port". About the port. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  2. ^ "CAG Report 2017 - PSU" (PDF). 
  3. ^ "Oommen Chandy". Retrieved 2017-07-23. 
  4. ^ "വിഴിഞ്ഞം പദ്ധതി അട്ടിമറിക്കാന്‍ സിഎജി റിപ്പോര്‍ട്ടില്‍ തുറമുഖ ലോബിയുടെ ഇടപെടല്‍; എജി ഓഫീസിലെ മുന്‍ ഉദ്യോഗസ്ഥനും സംശയത്തിന്റെ നിഴലില്‍ | Daily Indian Herald". Daily Indian Herald. 2017-06-02. Retrieved 2017-07-23.  zero width joiner character in |title= at position 31 (help)
  5. ^ "വിഴിഞ്ഞത്തെ മുക്കാൻ വൻ ഗൂഢാലോചന". Keralakaumudi Daily. Retrieved 2017-07-23. 
  6. ^ "Opinion: A Kerala Port with Adani. Why That's a Good Thing.". Retrieved 2017-07-23. 
  7. ^ Paul, Jose (2017-07-11). "CAG charges on Vizhinjam are baseless". The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 2017-07-23. 
  8. ^ KURIAN, VINSON (2016-04-08). "Work on Vizhinjam project progressing 'on schedule'". The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 2017-07-23. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "Editor’s Letter: 50 Places of a Lifetime – Intelligent Travel". 2009-09-17. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 

See also[edit]