The coastal length of Kerala is around 585 kms. There are 17 ports in our state which include 1 major port, 3 intermediate ports and 13 minor ports. The major port in Kerala is the Cochin port. All the other ports are under the control of the Kerala Government. During the early 1970’s all the major and minor ports were active where the bulk cargo was done manually. But later the usage of containers led to the need for mechanization of cargo handling activities. For this purpose huge investments are required and the government is selective in making any investments for modernizing the ports. Most of the ports still remain as underdeveloped due to the lack of proper investments.
The major port in our state is Cochin port. It is an ISO 9001-2000 certified port. It is governed by the Major Port Trusts Act 1963. This port is directly administered by the Government of India under the Ministry of Shipping. It extends over 827 hectares with a water frontage of 7.5 km. This port connects to the hinterland through the national highways NH 47, NH 17 and NH 49. The Konkan railway and Southern railway connects it to the hinterland.
Intermediate and Minor Ports
The three Intermediate Ports in the State are Beypore, Alappuzha and Neendakara. Transportation of cargo takes place from Beypore and Neendakara Ports. From Neendakara port only Ilmenite is transported. The minor Ports are Kovalam-Vizhinjam, Valiyathura, Thankasseri, Kayamkulam, Munambam/ Kodungalloor, Ponnani, Vadakara, Thalasseri, Kannur, Azhikal, Neeleswaram, Kasaragod and Manjeswaram. The activities performed in all these ports include registration and licensing of harbor crafts, light house maintenance, revenue collection etc. They do not have the necessary infrastructure for handling both small as well as medium sized vessels.
All the non major ports come under the control of the Kerala Government. Some of the agencies of Government that are responsible for the development of these ports include Port Department, Harbor Engineering Department, Hydrographic Survey Wing and Kerala State Maritime Development Corporation. It is the director of ports who administer the ports with the headquarters at Thiruvananthapuram. The regional offices are in Neendakara, Alappuzha and Kozhikode.