Coastal shipping players demand more free time at ports

In a conference organized by Container Corporation of India and Maritime Gateway, coastal shipping players have drafted a proposal for priority berthing and more free time for cargo vessels at ports.

Foreign vessels, because of their willingness to pay higher charges, are often given more priority over domestic vessels.

According to CONCOR CMD V Kalyana Rama, CONCOR 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. CONCOR had started a weekly coastal shipping service in January, between Kandla and Tuticorin.

The Shipping Ministry, which plans to move 12% of cargo through coastal shipping instead of the present 7%, has proposed to provide 40% lower port charges for coastal cargo vessel.

However, PK Agrawal, Director-Domestic, CONCOR said, “The Shipping Ministry’s proposal to provide 40% 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.”

The chairman of VO Chidambaranar Port, TK Ramachandran said the Tuticorin Port is working on a proposal to increase free time for coastal cargo vessels. However, the proposal is waiting for board’s approval.

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

This year, CONCOR plans to expand coastal shipping services between India and Bangladesh from Krishnapatnam Port on the East Coast to Chittagong Port in Bangladesh.

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