Mumbai: The much-delayed Rs 4,000-crore Vizhinjam International Seaport (VIS) in Kerala is likely to take more time with the state government Wednesday saying it will be able to start construction by the end of the year or early 2014.
"We are almost through with the environmental clearance after which we will execute the public hearing. This will take four-five months and we shall be able to start construction by the end of the year or early 2014," Kerala's ports principal secretary James Varghese told reporters here.
The official, however, did not offer definite date for getting the environmental impact assessment report.
It can be noted that the environmental impact assessment report was to be in place last June, which was delayed to last November. But it is again postponed.
He said that it has been decided to increase the depth of the port to 20 metres from the earlier plan for a 16 metre draft which will help it accommodate vessels carrying up to 18,000 TEUs or standard container units.
The government will build the port, which is being built as a public private partnership project, in three years and then choose an operator to take it forward. Private sector Welspun had been earlier appointed to operate, but got cancelled later due to higher upfront money it had demanded.
There will, however, be no cost escalation from the stated Rs 4,000 crore on account of this, he said, explaining that costs under some other heads have been trimmed with the help of expert opinions.
The port, situated only 10 nautical miles from the international shipping route, is primarily looking to attract trans-shipment traffic, he said.
When asked about Kochi Port's similar plans, Varghese said Kochi will serve the domestic market.
The port will have two terminals to start with and has plans to add two more in the future, he said.