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Unlike the feeder vessels mainline vessels are time conscious: Shri S.Nataraja, CCHBA

SS:  Concor remains a monopoly organization, and insists on return cargo to start freight services. It has regular service to Bengaluru alone from Chennai. Where do you make a start to improve container connectivity to east coast ports?

SN:  One could concede their demand for return cargo to help CONCOR get better returns for their services. But they must improve the marketing team and provide more connectivity to various commercial towns in southern India. They should also find a way to take the cargo end to end. Solutions are in their hands and they must have the inclination to implement it.

SS:  What are the steps needed to attract Main line vessels to the East coast ports? Currently most of the cargo handled in these ports is through feeder vessels which transship cargo from the east coast to Colombo or Singapore or Port Klang.

SN: The number of main line vessels calling at east coast ports has come down drastically in the last ten years.  The mainline: feeder vessel ratio used to be fifty fifty about a decade ago in these ports. Now hardly any mainline vessel calls at east coast ports.


Unlike the feeder vessels mainline vessels are time conscious. They decide their shipping schedule several months in advance and stick to them meticulously. Unfortunately the private terminals operating in east coast ports failed to handle them according to their schedule. Consequently they have called off their trips to east coast ports.

The terminal operators may have problems with the government on tariff issues and they have to be sorted out with them.

SS:  How do you see transshipment business in the region hitherto a monopoly of Colombo and Singapore ports, being handed at Krishnapatnam port since last year..Chennai port is also gearing up for transshipment business in a big way/ will this result in substantial saving in foreign exchange?

SN: Indian ports will definitely earn foreign exchange for the country by undertaking transshipment business. Chennai customs is actively considering a proposal to allow Chennai port to conduct transshipment activity. A decision in this regard is expected shortly.

If the trial runs of Chennai Port on transhipment business becom successful, Tuticorin port may also take up the business. This is also one way to generate more revenues for the container terminals operating out of these ports.

SS: Is cargo aggregation plan mooted by the Shipping Corporation of India way back in 1970ís to pool the cargo in east coast ports at Tuticorin port is still a viable option to attract mainline vessels?

SN:  It is definitely a viable option to attract mainline vessels to Tuticorin port. I do not know why the proposal mooted by the SCI was not taken forward. One of the main reasons why mainline vessels skip ports like Chennai or Tuticorin is the insufficient cargo available in these ports. If transshipment operations take place in a big way at these ports, this reason would get nullified.

SS:  Coastal shipping has not taken off despite several concessions offered by the shipping ministry and the major ports. Has the government failed to encourage Logistics companies by providing them incentives to undertake point to point movement involving coastal shipping as well?

SN: Coastal shipping will not be successful unless end to end solutions are found to cargo movement. The cargo is procured at one land point and should reach another land point. The trade would like to see cargo move through multi modal transportation including road, sea, inland waterways to reach the destination swiftly.

Now the coastal shipping is confined to transportation of goods from one sea port to another. IN coastal service value added service is an important component.

With this requirement in mind, the Commerce Department has recently set up an exclusive Logistics Wing to analyze the requirements of the trade and provide solutions.

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