In a major relief to spinning mills in the southern part of the country, the Union shipping ministry has allowed the mills to import Cotton from international markets through the Tuticorin port.
The Tuticorin port has been provided with the transhipment facility to start with for storing around 250 containers of Cotton for a period up to 30 days at free of cost and another 60 days at a discount charge with freedom to sell the cotton either in India or any other country depending upon the demand, a senior official of Southern Mills India Association (SIMA) said.
During the past two years, demand for imported Cotton has increased due to quality issues in the domestic production.
The facility would enable MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) category spinning mills to have direct and daily access to imported Cotton, SIMA said.
Spinning mills in Tamil Nadu consume about 12 million bales (a bale 170 kgs) of Cotton per year.
Since Tamil Nadu produces only around 0.5 million bales of Cotton per year, mills procure around 80% of Cotton from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana and other major Cotton growing states by spending up to Rs. 6 per kilo for transportation. They also import around 15% of the Cotton from African countries, the US and Australia.
SIMA has been making several attempts to facilitate coastal movement of Cotton to reduce the transport cost and also to create free trade zone (FTZ) facility at Tuticorin.
The trans-shipment facility would bring stability in Cotton prices as imported Cotton would be available at demand and also help the mills to prevent losses due to price volatility and also currency fluctuations,” the association said.