Week ending May 21, 2002


News on Ports

Kochi port to promote cruise shipping The Cochin port has reportedly launched a series of initiatives to promote cruise vessels to call on the port, as a part of the effort to develop cruise tourism in the State. The initiative comes against the backdrop of declining trend in cruise vessels calling on the port in the aftermath of the September 11 episode. The Kochi port received only 22 vessels 2001-02 against 34 vessels handled in the previous year. As a part of the initiative to promote cruise shipping, the cruise cell of CPT has offered single window facility in co-ordination with the Cus­toms, Immigration and Port Health Office, to ensure quick clearance for passengers, soon after the dock­ing of a vessel. The port has also approached the Union Shipping Ministry in building a passenger terminal of international standard. Along with the Kerala Tourism Department, CPT is also taking up works for renovation and construction of jet­ties in and around the harbour and retaining the tra­ditional aesthetics. The pioneering efforts of the port, in promoting the concept of Cruise Tourism among the Indian ports has culminated in the constitution of a national-level committee to formulate and promote business promotion measures to develop cruise tourism among the Indian ports.

CPT plea against SBM at Kochi port The Cochin Port Trust (CPT) has reportedly passed a resolution requesting Kochi Refineries Ltd (KRL) to drop the proposed move to establish single buoy mooring (SBM), away from the port limits, as it would adversely affect the port's revenue to a very large extent. At present 80 per cent of the port's revenue comes from handling of POL products. The CPT has already invested heavily for provision of on-shore and off-shore infrastructure to handle crude and crude products and is willing to provide additional facilities as per the requirements of KRL. However, the CPT felt that if the proposed SBM materialised, all the capital-intensive facilities provided for KRL would become infructuous and have an adverse impact on the financial position of the port.

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News on Shipping

MoS seeks feasibility study creation of integrated maritime authority The Ministry of Shipping (MoS) has invited offers from interested consultancy organizations to undertake a study on the feasibility of setting up a Maritime Authority of India. The proposed authority will oversee and regulate conservancy functions in the major and minor ports and exercise all the functions of the Director General of Shipping and Director General of Light House and Light Ships as well as the Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP). The plan to set up a single Maritime Authority was one of the steps suggested by the Expenditure Reforms Commission (ERC) headed by Mr. K.P. Geethakrishnan in order to scale down the size and operations of the Shipping Ministry. The proposed Maritime Authority is expected to have a member each in charge of the ports, shipping, light houses and light ships and finance. A pre-bid meeting of the interested parties would be held in Mumbai on June 7 and the offers should be submitted on June 20 for undertaking the study

Varun Shipping declares 12% dividend Varun Shipping has recommend­ed a dividend of 12 per cent for 2001-02.The com­pany's net profit before tax is Rs 15.2 crore (Rs 17.7 crore) for the year 2001-02. Its income from operations has mar­ginally risen to Rs 212.8 crore (Rs 21 1.4crore), while profitability was adversely affected because of weak freight market in the product tanker and LPG carrier segments in the second half of the financial year.

Seven SCI bidders complete first round of due diligence Seven prospective bidders, including Great Eastern Shipping and Essar Shipping, have completed their preliminary round of due diligence for acquiring 51 per cent controlling stake in the Shipping Corporation Of India, even as three parties have dropped out of the bidding process. Malaysian International Shipping Company, Sterlite, BPL, Aban Loyd-Qatar Shipping and Iffco-Kribhco were the other interested parties, who com­pleted the initial due diligence. Finolex group, Hong-Kong based Orient Overseas Container Line Ltd and CMA-CGM of France failed to turn up during their allotted slots for the process, which began on April 29. The three data rooms would remain open during the next week and the parties would be provided with the latest da­ta and records about SCI, the sources said adding, the bidders were also expected to conduct physical examination of ships. MIT­SUI 0 S K LINES of Japan had withdrawn its expression of in­terest much earlier before the due diligence process started. The Centre currently holds 80.12 per cent stake in SCI

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