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
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
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.