The distribution and accumulation of trace metals in the sediments of the Cochin estuary during the pre-monsoon, monsoon and post-monsoon periods were investigated. Sediment samples from 14 locations were collected and analysed for the metal contents (Mg, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb), organic carbon, total nitrogen, total sulphur and grain size. The data were processed using statistical tools like correlation, factor and cluster analysis. The study revealed an enrichment of Cd and Zn in the study area particularly at station 2, which is confirmed by enrichment factor, contamination factor and geoaccumulation index. The factor analysis revealed that the source of Cd and Zn may be same. The study indicated that the spatial variation for the metals like Mg, Cr, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb were predominant unlike Mn which shows a temporal variation. The strong association of trace metals with Fe and Mn hydroxides and oxides are prominent along the Cochin estuary. The anthropogenic inputs of industrial effluents mainly control the trace metals enrichment in the Cochin estuary.