Week ending November 11, 2002

   

News on Shipping

Consortium offer to buy-out SCI stake in LNG venture The Mitsui OSK Lines(MOL) and the Government of the Sultanate of Oman, each of which holds 40 per cent stake each in the Greenfield Shipping Company have submitted a proposal to buy out the 20 per cent stake held by the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) in the joint venture LNG project. The proposal is expected to bail out the Indian shipping major of the obligation to pumping additional funds worth $33 million to prop the venture that has run into trouble following the Enron debacle. MOL and the Oman government have offered to pay the $11 million invested by SCI in 1999 plus the interest of about 9 percent for acquiring the 20 per cent stake held by SCI.. While the SCI board has deferred taking a final decision on the buy-out offer, the bidders for ongoing strategic sale of stake in SCI are finding the buy-out offer attractive exit option out of the LNG venture.

Kelkar panel report could hit shipping majors The report of the Kelkar Committee, which has sought comprehensive reforms in the corporate tax system could have serious impact on shipping majors like Shipping Corporation of India and Great Eastern Shipping, if the government takes cue from the report and abolishes the tax exemptions under Section 33AC. The report has recommended abolition of tax exemptions allowed under 33AC, which enables shipping companies to avail tax exemption on their profits and other reserves transferred to the ship acquisition fund. The last Union budget further extended the scope of 33AC by raising the limits to such amount up to twice the paid-up equity of the company plus the share premium and general reserves. Large shipping companies like SCI and GE Shipping have been major beneficiaries under section 33AC, as they have large reserves and were able to considerably bring down their tax liability. Smaller shipping companies with poor reserves have been however, unable to take advantage of section 33AC.

IRS launches onboard ship safety software The Indian Registrar of Ships (IRS), a ship classification society has launched new software for ship safety called "Ship Mate", the first of its kind in the world. The software provides detailed information on intact and damage stability in both floating and grounded cases. The software also provides information support for ballast water management, hull condition monitoring and has an powerful in-built graphical user interface (GUI). Further modules are under development and will be launched by December

Tuticorin-Colombo ferry service to be launched The passenger ferry service from Tuticorin to Colombo is set to take off from November 22.The Tamil Nadu government would give the facility for immigration and customs security measures, including scanning of luggage. The Tuticorin port would provide the facility for berthing the ferry; passenger waiting room and Central Industrial Security Force would take care of the entire security aspect. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the India and Sri Lanka towards launching of the ferry service is likely to be signed on November 21.

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News on Ports

Kandla port sets box handling record Kandla port has set a new record for handling containers in a single day. The stevedores Cargo Movers has discharged and loaded a total of 1,192 TEUs in 24 hours on the vessel Kwangtung, achieving a productivity of 49.66 TEUs per hour. The previous record of handling 1114 TEUs in a single day was set in March earlier this year. The port also registered a highest-ever number at 789 of export TEUs carried out at the port as also handling the highest overall total of 1,804 TEUs (inward and outward) in a single voyage at the port.

KoPT to undertake survey of ghats alongside Hoogly river The Kolkata Port Trust is undertaking a survey and preparing a comprehensive report with financial expenditure proposals for developing and beatifying 43 ghats in Kolkata along Hooghly river. The move is prompted at the instance of Mr. Sudip Bandhopadhyay, the Trinamool Congress MP, who has undertaken a drive to beautify the ghats. KoPT is willing to undertake the task if the Central government is willing to grant necessary budgetary support.

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News on Shipyards

Ministry of Shipping opposed to disinvestments in shipyards The Shipping Ministry has said that it is opposed to the move to privatization of two public sector shipyards - Hindustan Shipyards and Cochin Shipyard. The Geethakrishnan Committee earlier mooted the proposal for privatization of these shipyards. The shipping ministry has instead drawn up plans to restructure the operations of these shipyards and make them viable. The ministry is also considering technical and management alliances with international players to revive Hindustan Shipyard. The committee report had recommended 100 per cent privatization of Hindustan Shipyard and at least 51 per cent disinvestments in Cochin Shipyard.

 
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