Sagar Sandesh: Future of Chennai Port.
C.R.Raghavendra: Chennai port has to concentrate on transshipment business. The
two containers terminals operating in the Port should be advised to take up
transshipment as one of their priority.
There was ray of hope in the road connectivity front to the Port when
the Ennore Manali Road Improvement Program (EMRIP) providing a dedicated lane
for container lorries between Chennai and Ennore ports through the congested
North Chennai area was commissioned recently. The container movement in eight
kilometers of the highway has since been affected as Indian Oil Corporation is
digging the area for laying the new pipeline from the port to their Refinery.
With the result the service lanes are not available to the container traffic.
Connectivity to the port would improve only when the Chennai Port-
Maduravoyal Elevated Corridor is commissioned. Work on the corridor is expected
to resume by early next year after the revised detailed project report is
completed. The commissioning of the project is expected by 2021.
While the Chennai port has gone through the phase of congestion and is
trying to get out of it, the new ports in the vicinity like Katupalli and
Kamarajar may also face a similar situation when their cargo handling picks up.
The North Port Access road project conceived nearly ten years ago to
facilitate quick movement of containers from these ports to the Kolkata highway
has not taken off. The project was
entrusted to the Tamil Nadu government road construction wing a few years ago.
But the work is yet to start. If this road connectivity is not provided,
Katupalli and Kamarajar ports may face congestion. .
Height restrictions have been prescribed for container lorries
crossing the branch railway line linking these Ports with Athipetu railway
stations for the past several years s. The electric traction wires come in the
way of huge containers entering the port. A suggestion to convert the branch
railway line from electric to diesel is pending with the Port authorities for
quite some time. With the result the shippers have to shell out at least Rs two
lakh for every movement of large
containers as the electric traction lines need to be dismantled temporarily for
the passage of container tractor lorries in this section.
SS: The much publicized Puducherry Satellite port project has not
taken off. Has the dredging in Puducherry port completed and when will the
project take off?
CRR: The Satellite port project faces lot of problems. Initially it
was dredging. Availability of containers from Puducherry is also limited since
there is no manufacturing industry in the Union territory. As the port is
situated in the city, access to it is a problem. Huge containers find it
difficult to move through the congested lanes of Puducherry. There are several
small bridges in the city through which the container trucks need to cross
before reaching the port. Container movement is also restricted to night. The
Puducherry port with limited draft could be made a port of call for cruise
liners rather than making it handle containers.
Summary of the interview with Mr C R
Raghavendra, General Manager, K line and Vice President of Chennai Ennore
Steamer Agents Association (CHENSAA)
the benefit of the readers)
freight rates in the shipping industry have currently touched the rock bottom
and it has to rise from now on. Freight rates are expected to stabilize in the
next five years after facing the impact of global recession for long. Mergers
and consolidation taking place in the industry in recent years have reduced the
tonnage available in the market.
was more and the demand was less for the last couple of years but the equations
may change with mergers and consolidation taking shape in the industry.
an instance to the low in international freight rates, the Ships in India-Far
East sector operate on a Nil freight basis, Shippers have to pay no freight in
this sector. Cargo movement taking in this sector is merely movement of empty
EXIM containers rather than earning from it. Rates have touched the rock bottom
and from now on, they are bound to increase.
these factors into account, the Shipping companies should think twice before
expanding their capacity, go in for joint ventures and enter into a limited
partnership with firms for a few services
volume of Indian trade is not that huge to be affected by the on-going trade
war between United States and China, Moreover Indian exports are more to China
which is not going to be affected the tussle. Whether India’s imports from
United States and European Union are going to be affected, time alone can give
the answer. It is too early to predict the trade routes that are likely to be
affected by the trade war.
why West coast ports have scored over Chennai port in container handling even
though Chennai stated the business much ahead, the ports in India have to cater
to the manufacturing base that is situated around the National Capital Region
and central India.
port started container business way back in 1980s much before west coast ports
thought about it. The Japanese K Line alone sent four freight trains from
Chennai to Delhi per week for nearly two decades till 2000. In the Chennai
Delhi sector passenger trains get precedence over freight trains and hence
cargo movement got delayed. Gradually cargo movement from Chennai to Delhi
stopped and the traffic moved to the west coast.
lessons from the experience of Chennai port JNPT had built a dedicated railway
line to Delhi nearly fifteen years ago. Mundra port in Gujarat also has a
dedicated freight corridor with Delhi. They managed to send the cargo to the
national capital region within 48 hours.
ports in the east coast including Chennai are situated in the peninsula, where
their hinterland cannot go beyond Bengaluru and Mangalore.
the west coast ports by virtue of establishing links with the manufacturing
base in North India are able to offer return cargo for the containers, the same
is available in limited quantities from East coast ports. Hence Liner vessels
shy away from making a detour of two and a half days to reach Chennai port and
instead land the cargo in JNPT or Mundra for onward movement to National
capital region Or Central Indian cities of Nagpur and Hyderabad.
the introduction of direct port delivery of imports and Direct Port entry of
exports bypassing container freight stations, the turn over CFS will come down.
In Chennai port alone where over thirty container freight stations operate, the
turn- over has come down by nearly thirty per cent.
container freight stations were set up due to the demands of the trade and
governmental policies. They were designed to take care of the congestion in
ports. There is the threat of congestion recurring at ports if the role of CFS
is minimized. We should not go back to the same situation the trade faced
nearly ten years ago when congestion wrecked the ports. The government should
work closely with the trade to avert the problem.
Chennai port, the direct port delivery of imports accounts for 40 per cent of
the turn-over of the containers handled. The figure may go up to 55 per cent.
In nearby Katupalli port, the DPD turn-over is sixty per cent. But it cannot go
beyond 80 per cent under the present conditions.
direct port entry has taken off in a big way only in newly constructed private
ports which offer lot of apace for containers. For instanced the entire exports
of Katuapalli is through Direct port entry which offered the trade a
competitive edge. The DPE have not taken off in Metropolitan ports like Mumbai
or Chennai which cannot offer space for storing containers.
Rahavendra had a few suggestions to offer to the Customs authorities to kick
start coastal shipping which has not taken off in Indian ports despite several
concessions offered by the Shipping Ministry. The Ministry of finance and
shipping should think of out of the box solutions to end the impasse.
example coastal ship operators should be allowed to take EXIM cargo from
Colombo port en-route while moving from coast to coast since transport of
coastal cargo alone will not be feasible for the vessel operators. The
confusion of handling both coastal and EXIM cargo at the same time in one
terminal could be resolved. The coastal containers should be painted in a
particular color so that they may be taken out separately on landing at the
terminal while e EXIM containers can follow the prescribed route.
trade in Chennai is asking the customs authorities to allow movement of empty
EXIM containers from one Indian port to another. The empties may be used for carrying
coastal cargo. The modalities are being worked out based on the customs
notification issued way back in 2001. Ironically the notification was not
implemented so far. The proposal may take shape in six months.
a few months ago some ports like Mundra which are handling containers on a manual
basis were allowed to have transshipment business by the customs but ports like
Chennai where movement is controlled electronically were denied the facility.
Now all the ports have been allowed to do transshipment business. Foreign
vessel operators not longer have to contend with different laws in different
Indian ports as far as transshipment of containers are concerned..
sets of laws are being enforced by the immigration authorities in east and west
coast ports. The authority functioning under home ministry denies certain
shipping activity in east coast port while the same is allowed in west coast
ports. Ironically the west coast ports like Mumbai or kanlda face more security
threats compared to the ones in the east coast. The laws should be streamlined.
satellite port project at Puducherry to relieve the congestion in Chennai port
may not take off immeidately due to various reasons including infrastructure problems
and lack of adequate traffic from the Union territory.