Week ending November 04, 2002


News on Shipping

Newly formed maritime body seeks tonnage tax Recently formed Confederation of Indian Maritime Industry and Associates (CIMIA) a body representing various stakeholders in the shipping industry has sought introduction of tonnage tax system in place of the current corporate tax system for the shipping industry. Mr. V.M.Gaitonde, one of the founding members of CIMIA has stated that it is an earnest request of the industry that tonnage tax be introduced as an alternative to the basic corporate tax, which could provide adequate fiscal incentives to shipping industry. CIMIA is planning to join hands with the Indian National Shipowners Association (INSA) to lobby for the introduction of tonnage tax. An expert committee under Rakesh Mohan had recommended the introduction of tonnage tax for the shipping companies earlier this year. However, the budget proposals for 2002-03 had ignored the proposal in favor of corporate taxation system.

GE Shipping sees 45 % increase in net profits Great Eastern Shipping Co. Ltd. has reported a 45 % increase in net profit at Rs.56.73 crore for the second quarter of 2002-03 against Rs. 39.06 crore in the same period last year. Income from operations and sales has slipped to Rs. 245.83 crore during quarter from Rs. 294.71 crore in the same quarter last fiscal. The decline in respect of expenditure was however, steeper than decline in income from operations. The company has attributed its performance to fleet management and prudent risk management and improvement in operating and financial efficiencies. Shipping business contributes to around 74 per cent of revenues and 71 per cent of the profits before tax and interest for the quarter. Offshore operations contributed around 22 per cent to revenues and 24 per cent to profits.

News on Ports

Kolkata port records 12.6 % growth in traffic The Kolkata Dock System of the Kolkata port has recorded handling of 2.85 million tonnes during April-October, representing 19.2 % increase from 2.391 million tonnes of cargo handled during the same period of last year. Te increase in cargo traffic handled is attributed to increased tonnage of crude, logs, pulses, containers and vegetable oils among others. The port has registered highest monthly traffic in 22 months of 8.98 lakh tonnes in October. The growth in traffic has also come in from Haldia Dock Complex during the first fiscal half, which has handled 15.995 million tonnes of cargo compared to 14.344 million tonnes of cargo in the same corresponding period of the previous fiscal year. The growth in traffic at Haldia Dock Complex has been attributed to increased handling of LPG, iron ore, crude oil, containers, fertilizers and coking coal. KoPT as a whole, including the Kolkata Dock System and Haldia Dock Complex has handled 18.845 million tonnes of cargo during the first half of the current fiscal, a rise of 12.6 % from 16.735 million tonnes of cargo handled in the same corresponding period of the previous fiscal year.

Mormugao port sets new record in coal handling Mormugao port has set a new record in handling of coal, when 19,384 tonnes of coking coal was discharged from the vessel mv Orientor 2 in a single day on November 6. The performance has surpassed the earlier record set on September 1 earlier this year, when the port discharged 17,500 tonnes of coking coal. The coal consignment was destined for Jindal Vijaynagar Steel Limited and was imported from South Africa. South India Corporation (Agencies) Limited (Sical) was the agent and stevedore for the vessel.

Kerala government floats global tender for Vizhinjam port The Department of Ports under the Kerala government has floated a global tender inviting expression of interest (EoI) for the appointment of a consultant to the Vizhinjam port project. The port is to be developed with private participation on a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis. The consultant would be entrusted with the task of establishing the feasibility of the project from technical, environmental, social and financial angles. The Vizhinjam port has a natural draft of 25 meters, within a nautical mile from the coast.

Tenth Plan document moots Rs.11,256 crore investment in ports sector The tenth plan document has projected Rs.11,256 crore private investment in the port sector, as against a target of Rs.8,000 crore during the Ninth plan. According to the Plan document the primary focus of all port reforms would be to transfer decisions about service provisions to the private sector, which has a stronger incentive to cater to consumers. The plan has refrained from prescribing the extent and nature of new capacity addition. The document is likely to be adopted by the National Development Council in November. It notes that concessions for effectively harnessing potential of private investments in ports cannot be seen as opportunities for revenue maximization but has to result in lower prices for the consumers and higher competitiveness in the sector. The plan document has projected that capacity in 12 major port would increase by 20 per cent to 415 million tonnes per annum in the next five years, through new projects and higher productivity. The plan document has also sought an appellate body status for the Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) to encourage competition in the port sector.

Maharashtra government plans privatize six ports The Maharashtra government has cleared a proposal for privatization of six ports to be purchased and used as captive ports. The six ports to be developed as captive ports under the privatization initiative include: Allewadi, Anjanwar, Jaigad, Ganeshpule, Vijay Durg and Redi. As per the government decision, these ports would be placed on sale on an as-is-where-is basis, with the private required to set up the necessary infrastructure facility for port operations. The government's earlier attempt to privatize these ports had failed to take off, when the State government had floated a global tender for construction of ports in these locations in 1996.

Belgium to share know-how on Inland Waterways India and Belgium have together signed a letter of intent (LoI) for forging cooperation in the development of Indian ports and inland waterways. The LoI was signed during the recent visit of the Union Shipping Minister Mr. Vedprakash Goyal to Belgium seeking solutions to problems of inland waterways, especially the problem of siltation. The LoI provides for technical assistance in methods to control rivers to prevent flooding and the organization of workshops on the low-cost dredging of inland waterways, together with installation of navigational aids and prevention of marine pollution.

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News on Logistics

MoD opposed to sale of Balmer Lawrie in parts The Ministry of Disinvestment (MoD) has opposed the proposal of the Ministry of Finance to disinvest in public sector Balmer Lawrie in parts, instead of amalgamated form. The MoD stand could result in a loss of over Rs.300 crore, as the amalgamated entity may not fetch more than Rs.200 crore, whereas if each unit were sold as separate entity could raise more than Rs.500 crore. Balmer Lawrie has eight operational units, which include travel, leather chemicals, container freight stations, tea exports, industrial packaging, greases projects and cargo.

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