Week ending July 12, 2003


News on Shipping

Cargo ships to soon have black boxes under IMO rules : The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is considering a new enactment under the International Safety of Life at Sea (ISLS) convention to make it mandatory for the cargo ships to install "black boxes" similar to the ones used on aircrafts. IMO has already conducted a feasibility study on the subject, which has reinforced the case for its installation on cargo ships. Several shipwrecks in recent years have led investigators clueless about the cause of the accidents. The installation of the black box on the ship would also help maritime authorities study in detail the minutest of the facts that lead to maritime accidents.

Paramount Shipping sets up base in Chennai : Paramount Shipping a Eurasia group company involved in ship management has opened its Chennai office, to take care of needs of seafarers from the southern region. With this, seafarers from South need not now go to Delhi or Mumbai, where the company has offices, to join the ships managed by the firm. Paramount undertakes manning and training of Indian seafarers for the Bernhard Shulte Group of Hamburg. The Schulte Group manages over 400 vessels including 60 of its own, through its various management offices worldwide. The Eurasia group manages 74 of these vessels including crude, product and chemical tankers, bulk carriers up to Capesize vessel, container vessels up to 5,500 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent unit), cement carriers, LPG and LNG. About 72 per cent, about 1,700, of the seafarers on board these vessels are Indians.

Workers unions to oppose port corporatisation bid : The port and dock labour unions opposed to corporatisation of ports are holding country-wide demonstrations in front of the administrative offices of major ports on July 28 in protest. In a press release Mr G. Jagannadha Rao, President of the Visakhapatnam Port Employees' Union affiliated to the All-India Port & Dock Workers' Federation, said that leaders of the five recognized federations of port employees had met earlier this week in Chennai and decided upon a course of agitation in protest against Government policies on ports. The federations wanted withdrawal of a bill pending in Parliament for corporatisation of ports and sought more autonomy to the port trusts by effecting amendments to the Major Port Trusts Act as recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport and Tourism. Further, the labour unions have sought shelving of all proposals to privatize services in major ports and filling up of vacancies and jobs to the next of kin of port employees who died in harness or while on duty.

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News on Ports

Kolkata port planning to bring Suez tankers : The Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) is reportedly planning to bring Suezmax tankers with an average parcel load of 50,000/55,000 tonnes of crude at Haldia dock. While the exact date for bringing the vessel is yet to be firmed up, the KoPT authorities are hopeful of undertaking the operation at the earliest. The arrangements for bringing in the large vessels are being discussed with the SCI as well as IOC. Earlier, the Suezmax tanker `Gandhar' belonging to SCI had called on at Haldia with a parcel load of a little less than 50,000 tonnes in 1995. The KoPT has asked SCI to have the DGPS (directional geographical positioning system) installed on the vessels to be brought at Haldia. DGPS is necessary to synchronize its operation with that of the shore-based Beacon to monitor precisely the movement and location of the vessel in the Hooghly river. The successful calling of a Suezmax tanker with more than 50,000 tonnes of crude and discharging of the cargo at the dock would pave the way for the proposed tandem mooring operation at the Sandheads.

CPSEZ proposal a bonanza for Kochi Kerala: Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organization Ltd (KITCO) master plan for development of the Cochin Port Special Economic Zone (CPSEZ) promises to be big boon for Kochi port. As per the master plan, SEZ, to be set up on 448 hectares at Vallarpadam and Puthuvypeen is expected to net Rs 1,200 crore as foreign exchange earnings and generate 25,000 jobs, besides FDI inflows of Rs 4,450 crore. The internal rate of return of the project, worked out after considering the opportunity cost at the rate of 8.0 per cent on the capital employed, is estimated at 11.52 per cent, considered to be satisfactory at the prevailing interest rates. The income generating areas for the port include land lease, share of turnover from container transshipment terminal, licence fee from bunkering operation, royalty from SBM, royalty from LNG operation, toll from railway siding, share of turnover from ship repair facility. Of the three models discussed for developing the SEZ, the sector-wise model, it is felt, would be ideal. The plan envisages development of specific sectors such as international container transshipment terminal (ICTT), bunkering, ship repair, LNG, etc., to be entrusted to BOT operators. Projects suited to the port area have been identified for the CPSEZ considering the layout of the land and the potential with respect to raw materials, demand-supply gap of the products in the export markets and the availability of skilled manpower.

Multi-point SEZ planned at Kandla: The Kandla Special Economic Zone (KASEZ) spread over 700 acres is planning to join hands with the Kandla Port Trust to develop a multi-point special economic zone in Gujarat. The plan being jointly worked out between the KPT and KASEZ is likely to be submitted to the Centre soon. The move follows the Commerce ministry's recent approval to the proposal submitted by Cochin Port Trust (CoPT) and Cochin Special Economic Zone to develop a multi-point SEZ in Kochi.

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