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It is time coordination is strengthened at Ports in Chennai region to attract bunkering demand from foreign flag vessels says CHENSAA

It is time that ports in Chennai region including Ennore and Katupalli ports adopted a Single window clearance system to attract bunkering demand from foreign flag vessels and earn foreign exchange Capt S Srinivasan Vice President of Chennai-Ennore Steamer Agents Association (CHENSAA) said.

Addressing a Regional Seminar on IMO 2020 Sulphur cap organized by Mercantile Marine Department and the Indian Oil Corporation,  Mr.Srinivasan said when the ports could organize a single coordination point  involving the customs immigration and other governmental agencies to deal with the Cruise Liners, the same practice could be adopted by  the ports in the Chennai region to deal with bunkering of foreign vessels.

No foreign flag vessel bunker at Chennai region ports because of procedural and Logistics problems

Unlike Cochin port where systems are in place for bunkering, no foreign flag vessel does planned bunkering at Chennai region ports because of procedural and Logistics problems involved in the exercise.

Bunkering is resorted at ports in Chennai region only when foreign vessels change their voyage plans and require them on an emergency basis.

Apart from the limited infrastructure available in the Chennai port region, the ship agents have to go through and complete procedural as well as documentation formalities before bunkering could be ordered. It took nearly three days to get the clearance from the statutory agencies before the order is placed for bunkering

Unlike the Cochin Port where bunkering is done within a few hours, the vessels have to wait for a couple of days to complete bunkering in ports in  Chennai region as there is no guaranteed time frame for supplies. 

Bunkering by IOC not by foreign vessels but Naval and Coastal vessels

Bunkering by Indian Oil Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation in the region is done mostly to Naval, Coastguard, Coastal vessels besides the Port tugs. Foreign vessels are not under their radar.

While foreign ships prefer to bunker at the Outer anchorage and outside the port limits, bunkering arrangements are available mostly alongside berths in the region.

Chennai port also charges vessel related charges for bunkering which is of the order of around sixty thousand US dollars while no such charge is collected at Cochin port.

It is time that Chennai port follows Cochin Code of practice

It is time that Chennai port follows the Code of practice implemented by its Cochin counterpart considering that both are government run ports. In Cochin port, barges loaded with bunker fuel wait for the ships at the port’s Outer anchorage for bunkering. Fuel is provided to ships round the clock even during the monsoon season.

No prior clearance is required from Cochin port authorities, for bunkering. Unlike Chennai, the west coast port does not levy charges for bunkering.

Chennai port has woken up to the situation and is now constructing a dedicated berth in the port premises for bunkering operations. The berth is likely to be commissioned within a year.

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