The original depth – 9.44 meters have now been increased to 14 meters. Dredging is too expensive on account of the initial capital outlay and the recurring expenses. Vallarpadam Terminal is the first in the country to operate in a special economic zone in the year 2005. In the first phase there was 600m Quay length and a draft of more than 15m, when the terminal may handle 1 million TEUs. In the second phase the capacity is expected to be enhanced to 3 million TEUs. In the third phase the terminal may handle even up to 5.5 million TEUs. The total cost of the project is estimated at Rs. 3200 crore. DP World has estimated that the total initial investment required will be approximately US$20 million which includes the immediate provision of four RTGs and two Mobile Harbour Cranes to the Terminal -to improve yard handling, truck turnaround time and quayside operations. Strategically, located on the main east-west global shipping lines and offering draft of about 16 m, Cochin is destined to develop as the premier gateway to southern India as also offering an alternative to Sri Lanka and Singapore for containers being transshipped for the Indian market.