Kerala to get its first maritime cluster in Cherthala: Minister Rajeev

Kerala will get its first maritime cluster in Cherthala of coastal Alappuzha district, as the government is considering setting up a testing lab for allied equipment with cooperation from private players, Industries Minister P Rajeev said.

The administration has located a 15-acre plot for the cluster that will function as a business ecosystem boosting shipping businesses. To be groomed with necessary infrastructure and other facilities, the cluster will particularly benefit MSMEs in the maritime sector amid a major project lined up by Cochin Shipyard for the next five years, he said.

The Minister’s announcement comes as a follow-up to the government’s inclusion of maritime among the 22 priority sectors in the State’s 2023 Industrial Policy. That decision came following Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s visit to Norway in October 2022.

The Minister interacted with various stakeholders of the maritime sector, who briefed him about the lack of system in Kerala to test maritime machinery. They promised Rajeev the industry’s cooperation and partnership in setting up such a lab.

The Minister, in response, assured the industry of government support for the testing facility. To hold studies in the run-up to its establishment, a high-powered panel led by the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) will visit Bengaluru and Visakhapatnam in the near future. Further, the Department of Industries will hold talks with the Shipyard and Maritime University in the state, he added.

The government will start short-term courses to develop skills among engineers and financiers to make their use in the maritime sector. The finer points will be discussed with ASAP (Additional Skills Acquisition Programme), while talks will also be held with the KSIDC’s Scaleup project to mobilize funds.

Industries Director S Harikishore, who is also Managing Director of KSIDC, said the state department has been giving priority to the maritime sector in a big way.

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