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Time Required : 2-3 hrs

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Tuticorin Port, Tuticorin Overview

Tuticorin Port, one of the major trading ports in India, is located in Tuticorin in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Today, the port is known as the V.O.Chidambaranar Port. It is an artificial port and hence is one of the best engineering marvels ever created in India. With its massive size, it takes the second place in the list of the largest ports in India. This port also is the fourth largest container terminal in the country. The operations and the management of the port make it the Nation's Premier Port after the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project. It is most often compared with the Port of Singapore which is the second-busiest ports in the world.

V.O.Chidambaranar Port was declared to be a major port in India on 11 July 1974. The port functions all through the year. In Tamil Nadu, it is the third International Port and the second All-Weather Port. Tuticorin is famously known as the City of Pearls and is also famously known for its Ports. The location of the port is a strategically planned on the south-eastern coast of India and lies close to the east-west International sea route in Gulf of Mannar. With India to its west and Sri Lanka to its south-east, the Tuticorin Port is quite well protected from cyclonic winds and storms. It is the only port in South India that provides weekly direct container services to the United States of America and Europe.

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Harbour Layout of Tuticorin Port

Inner Harbour: This artificial harbour is a deep sea harbour made of parallel breakwaters that project up to 4 kilometres into the sea. The length of the breakwater to the north of the harbour is over 4098 metres, and the one to the south is over 3800 metres. These barriers are over 1250 metres away from each other. About 400 hectares of the protected water region form the harbour basin and consists of a 2400 metre long and 180-metre wide approach channel.

This harbour has 14 berths that include three coal and oil jetty and two containers. The container terminal has three quay cranes with a reach of 44 metres each. There are also four stacking cranes and an enormous storage area. The port also has a terminal for passenger cruise ships, and as of today, the port handles over 7% of the container traffic in India. The future expansion of the port includes launching a 24-acre Naval Base to reinforce the surveillance and to safeguard the Gulf of Mannar.

Outer Harbour: The outer port is surrounded by Kerala, Southern part of Tamil Nadu and some parts of Karnataka. The outer harbour also consists of 14 berths. The capacity of the berths is over 33 million tonnes per annum, and they are situated within the breakwaters of the port. The port is most utilized to import cargo namely Petroleum, LPG, Thermal Coal, Timber etc. and import cargo namely Sugar, Salt, Cement and other containerized cargo.

The port is an emerging power hub, and the facility has helped propel Industrial Growth in India. To meet future demands, an expansion of the outer harbour has been proposed. According to the plan, the breakwater to the north will be extended by over 4500 metres, the one to the south by 5300 metres, the channel will be extended to 300 metres and a brand new turning circle with a diameter of approximately 700 metres will be constructed.

Best Time To Visit Tuticorin Port

The best time to visit Tuticorin Port is between November and February as the weather is pleasant during the winters.

Tips For Visiting Tuticorin Port

1. Do not enter the prohibited areas on the port.
2. Wear a good sunscreen and a hat while exploring the site.
3. Carry enough water and stay hydrated.
4. Do not litter the site.

History of Tuticorin Port

It has been known to historians that Tuticorin Port has been functioning since 88 AD, from the texts of a Green Work named Periplus of the Erythrean Sea. References were also made by Claudius Ptolemy around 124 AD as Sosikuorai, a Pearl Fishery. The Tamil Literature from 200 AD to 1000 AD Sevaha Chintamani, Thevaram and Periyapuraman possess records of Pearl Trade; however, the source of these Pearls is not mentioned. The texts between 7th and 9th Century, during the reign of the Pandya Kings, and those between 10th and 12th century, during the reign of the Chola Kings, mention a guarded natural harbour for ships to be anchored in safety in Tuticorin.

The Dutch captured Tuticorin in 1532 when the Portuguese sailed to India. Numerous records of the 17th Century also mention the port of Tuticorin on records made by European and British travellers. Out of these, the records made by an English missionary, Philip Baldaeus in 1675 have graphic representations of Tuticorin Port. Pearl fisheries flourished under the influence of Dutch and in June 1825, the Port came under direct control of the East India Company. Further on, the Pearl Fisheries of the Gulf of Mannar have been highlighted in numerous reports sent to the Government of Madras.

The operation of the Port also played an important role to empower the Indians seeking freedom from the Colonial Rule in the early years of the 20th Century. V.O.Chidambaram motivated the locals by sowing the seeds of Nationalism and Independence and in 1907, successfully launched the first Swadeshi Navigation Company. The two Swadeshi Vessels, N.N.Lavo and N.N.Gaelia, went operational and sailed between Tuticorin and Colombo and hence proved to be an important milestone in the freedom struggle of South India.

How To Reach Tuticorin Port

One can drive their private or hired vehicles from Tuticorin City and reach the Port in about 20 minutes. One can also drive down from the Tuticorin Airport which is barely 30 minutes away from the Port.

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