When private ports in the vicinity are reducing
tariff to attract cargo, Chennai port saddled with excessive labor has resorted
to upward revision of tariff with effect from November 29. The revision became
necessary following huge wage bill the port has to incur after a massive wage
revision announced by the Shipping Ministry from January 2017.
The cost of labor in the port has increased
considerably forcing the port to hike the tariff according to official sources.
hike will make the port more uncompetitive
With two major shipping lines Maersk and Hyundai
Merchant navigation having deserted Chennai port in favor of neighboring ports,
the tariff hike will make the port more uncompetitive. With connectivity
projects moving at snail’s pace, tariff hike has come at an inappropriate time
when the port is struggling for cargo.
during the first nine months of the current year have shown a negative trend
Chairman of the port Mr P Raveendran had admitted
at a news conference recently that the volumes during the first nine months of
the current year have shown a negative trend. IPA reports indicate the volumes
at the port have come down to about 28 million tons during the first nine
months of the year less by nearly three million tons during the corresponding
period last year.
The port has announced a 35 per cent increase in
stevedoring costs, about 30 per cent in wharfage and vessel related charges and
about 45 per cent in demurrage according to industry sources. Increased cost of
cargo handling at Chennai port will lead to ships moving to adjacent Kamarajar
Kattupalli or Krishnapatnam ports.
don’t not load the industry with additional costs merely to offer more pay to
The industry representatives had represented to
the shipping minister Mansukh Mandaviya during his recent visit to Chennai port
that the authorities should not load the industry with additional costs merely
to offer more pay to the workers. That the Minister did not yield to the
demands of the trade became clear when the port came out with a notification
announcing the new scale of rates.
defends tariff hike
Defending the tariff increase, a spokesman of the
port said that the Scale of Rates were revised with due consultation of the
stakeholders, and most of their concerns were taken care of and thereafter the
draft proposal for the revision of SoR
was sent to Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP), besides publishing the
proposed SoR in the Chennai Port website as per the TAMP guidelines.
TAMP, after due process, conducted the public
hearing with all the stakeholders. The issues raised during the meeting were
again analysed and many of the increases proposed such as ‘cold move’ charges;
double berth hire charges for occupation of double berth by large ships;
increase in wharfage for cereals and pulses and fertilizers; wharfage rates for
oil bunkering, coir and jute, documentation charges were withdrawn.
The increase was mainly in areas like on board
the ship labor charges which was necessitated due to pay revision from January
1, 2017, and the Chennai Port had absorbed this increase till date. “The overall
increase in tariff due to the revision will be below five per cent for a ship
calling at the port,” the spokesman maintained.