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Week ending January 1, 2002


News on Ports

Strike builds up congestion at Vizag With about 800 employees working in VPT’s Floating Crafts section going on strike; the berthing and unloading operations have been crippled leading to congestion in the port. The port authorities have sought the help of Naval personnel from the Eastern Naval Command, which has agreed to help.

Chennai feeder operators to roll back congestion levy Chennai feeder operators (CFOs) have reportedly decided to withdraw the congestion surcharge increase from $ 200 to $ 125 per TEU. The slash in charges will come into effect from December 24 on all laden movements from Chennai to Colombo, Singapore, Port Kelang and Tanjung Pelepas and vice versa. The hike was announced on December 19, in the wake of take-over of terminal container at Chennai port by P&O Ports.

Mechanized export conveyor system commissioned at Mundra The Mundra Port has commissioned a mechanized export conveyor system for the speedy clearance of the export dry bulk cargo, both at the terminal and storage areas. The private port developed by the Gujarat government and Adani group, through the joint venture company - Gujarat Adani Port Limited (GAPL) has thus, become the first port on the West coast to have the export conveyor facility. The new conveyor system comprises two main sub-systems – bleeding line conveyor system and the main conveyor system. Both the systems are programmable and logically controlled (PLC) and operated from individual control rooms.

Sea King in talks for more stakes in GPPIL Sea King Infrastructure Ltd., promoters of Positra Special Economic Zone (SEZ) are negotiating with the Gujarat government for offloading another five per cent stake to 10 per cent, according to Mr. Rajendra Singh, chairman of Gujarat Positra Port Infrastructure Ltd. (GPPIL). Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) and Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) presently own the five per cent stake in the project.

Steamer Agents plea for trimming port pools’ staff strength The Cochin Steamer Agents Association has called for implementation of a scheme to reduce the strength of the workers in various pools of the port to bring down the financial burden on the shippers and trade. The steamer agents have proposed the introduction of a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) and have sought the cooperation of port authorities in implementation of the scheme. The steamer agents argue that increased cost in cargo handling has been driving away sizeable volumes of cargo traffic to neighboring ports such as Tuticorin and New Mangalore.

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News on Shippings

SCI to continue to be nodal agency for crude oil transport The Union shipping ministry is reported to be in favour of continuation of the nodal agency status for Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) for crude oil transportation. The government, which has just announced the 51 per cent disinvestment of SCI, would however, continue to retain a major portion of SCI equity. Crude oil transportation forms a major chunk of SCI’s business and the decision to retain the nodal agency status is likely to assure substantial revenue stream with SCI, even after disinvestments.

IPBC conference plans hike in freight rates India/Pakistan/Bangladesh/Ceylon (IPBC) Conference reportedly is considering a freight rate increase, through the Rate Restoration Initiative (RRI). The proposed RRI will be enforced from February, 2002 and will be around $300 per TEU and $600 per FEU. The move comes in the wake of drastic drop in freight rates to the UK/Continent from Indian sub-continent, especially by the non-conference shipping lines, which are reportedly charging as low as $ 575 from Kolkata to Felixstowe (UK), which is below the bare minimum cost of operation.

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News on Logistics

CONCOR launches its first container train from Hyderabad to Vizag The Container Corporation of India (Concor) has flagged off its first-ever container train from Hyderabad to Visakhapatanam port. The container train will henceforth operate on a regular basis to the port city. Concor also plans to launch a similar outward train for Tuticorin port from Visakhapatanam.

Nagpur cargo hub project cleared The Maharashtra government has approved the proposal for development of the international passenger and cargo hub complex in Nagpur. A separate company – Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC) would be constituted in partnership with the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) and other financial institutions for setting up the project. The project is being developed on a build-own-transfer (BOT) basis.

Kerala to focus on Inland Waterway Transport The Kerala government has identified three waterways in the State for developing inland water transport along with the road transport. The project aided by the World Bank will provide direct access to the products of the hinterland to the ports by bringing down the costs. The three waterways identified for development include Alappuzha-Kotayam (23 kms), Allapuzha-Changanassery (28 kms) and Kottayam-Viakkom (42 kms).

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