Post Date : July 25, 2022
The spike in fuel prices has left commercial activity panting for breath. But in a recent move, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) directed all major ports to exempt coastal shipping operations from port and vessel charges for the next 6 months with immediate effect, an official statement said on Sunday. The State Governments have also been urged to reduce VAT charged on diesel consumed by the shipping sector.
The cost of marine fuel ‘Low Sulphur High Flash High-Speed Diesel’ (LSHFHSD) has increased from Rs 76,000 per kilolitre to Rs 1,21,000 per kilolitre. Similarly, the cost of ‘Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil’ (VLSFO) has increased from Rs 40,608 per kilolitre to Rs 80,917 per kilolitre.
“In order to provide some quick respite to this sector from the impact of global increase in price of fuel, MoPSW has directed all major ports to exempt all berth hiring and vessel-related charges being currently levied to the Ro-Pax (roll-on/roll-off passenger) for the next six months with immediate effect.” said the statement.
The Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Sh. Sarbananda Sonowal has also written to the Minister of Finance Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Sh. Hardeep Singh Puri, requesting support for the shipping sector by reducing fuel price and taxes applied on purchase of fuel.
The statement noted that marine fuel prices, inclusive of taxes, cast a domino effect on the entire chain of mass surface water transportation. Considering that ferry operators cannot pass on the burden of increased fuel prices to the common public, they have to bear operational losses and face other hurdles. This eventually acts as a stumbling block in establishing a budding ecosystem of surface water transportation in the country.