Cotton importers eye Kochi port for storage and re-export
The South India Mills Association and Indian Cotton Federation are looking at options to facilitate the import and re-export of containerised cotton through Kochi port.
Kochi’s proximity to spinning mills in Coimbatore, which is less than 200 km away, prompted them to seek a storage facility in the port for the transhipment of containers to facilitate local sales and cotton imports.
Moreover, the reduced transit time to Kochi, especially from West and East African ports and the US, would make the port an attractive destination, said G Radhakrishna, President, Coimbatore Cotton Association.
“We opened a similar facility in Tuticorin a month back,” he told BusinessLine.
According to him, a lot of imports are being made to South India every year, and a majority of the consignments are handled at Tuticorin port. However, Kochi has a cost advantage to millers in Coimbatore, and the closing down of Walayar check post after GST has resulted in the faster movement of cotton to production units.
Last year, mills in the South consumed around 2-lakh tonnes of cotton imported from the major cotton-growing areas in West and East Africa, US and Australia. India’s cotton season normally starts in September and continues till June.
The country exports a lot of cotton, which is a major revenue earner for growers in North India.
However, millers in South India have to depend on imports in the second-half of the year to meet their production requirements, he said.
Confirming the development, A V Ramana, Deputy Chairman of Cochin Port Trust, said that the port is in talks with Cochin Customs to come out with a notification to set up a dedicated facility to make Kochi a trading hub of cotton.
“Once the notification is out we will start an aggressive marketing campaign among the millers, especially those in Madurai, Dindigul and Coimbatore,” said Ramana.
“The Vallarpadam terminal offers facilities that match international standards for import, warehousing and re-export at a comparable cost,” he added.