The Hindu Business Line

Coastal ship­pers de­mand more fa­cil­i­ties at ports

Seek pri­or­ity berthing and more free time

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Coastal ship­ping play­ers want pri­or­ity berthing and more free time at ports as In­dia looks to in­crease the share of coastal cargo move­ment. This emerged at a con­fer­ence or­gan­ised here re­cently by Con­cor and Mar­itime Gate­way.

Con­tainer Cor­po­ra­tion of In­dia (Con­cor), the PSU which started a weekly coastal ship­ping ser­vice in Jan­uary, be­tween Kandla and Tu­ti­corin, is wit­ness­ing an in­crease in the to­tal lo­gis­tics costs as its ships face de­lay due to lack of ded­i­cated in­fra­struc­ture for coastal cargo at ports, where pri­or­ity is given to for­eign ves­sels to berth, ac­cord­ing to Con­cor CMD V Kalyana Rama.

Higher charges

The ports give pri­or­ity to for­eign ves­sels as they pay higher charges to the ports.

“The Ship­ping Min­istry’s pro­posal to pro­vide 40 per cent lower port charges for coastal cargo ves­sels tends to get di­luted when the ter­mi­nals are op­er­ated by the part­ners in the pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship model,” said PK Agrawal, Direc­tor-Do­mes­tic, Con­cor. The cus­toms pa­per­work tends to vary for coastal cargo in different ports.

Th­ese hitches need to be cleared if In­dia has to achieve the Ship­ping Min­istry’s tar­get of mov­ing about 12 per cent of cargo through coastal ship­ping against the cur­rent seven per cent.

“Tu­ti­corin Port is al­ready work­ing on a pro­posal to in­crease the free time that coastal cargo ves­sels get,” said TK Ra­machan­dran, Chair­man, VO Chi­dambara­nar Port, erst­while Tu­ti­corin Port, adding that the pro­posal is await­ing the Board’s ap­proval.

“Con­cor plans to ex­pand its coastal ship­ping ser­vice to other ports as well,” said G Ravi Ku­mar, Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor, Con­cor.

Mean­while, Con­cor plans to op­er­a­tionalise its coastal cargo ser­vice be­tween In­dia and Bangladesh this year.

Cargo ship­ping

The ser­vice is likely to run be­tween Kr­ish­na­p­at­nam Port on the East Coast and Chit­tagong Port in Bangladesh, and would con­sider call­ing on other ports like Paradip and Ha­dia if the de­mand arises.

It is also work­ing on a pro­posal to send cargo to ports in Iran, from where it can be moved to Rus­sia us­ing the rail route.

Goods are al­ready mov­ing on this route be­tween In­dia and Rus­sia, but Con­cor is not a part of it.

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