Death at CWC raises safety concerns

Hundreds of workers gathered to protest against the insecure cargo handling at freight stations and even resorted to stone pelting after a worker was run over by a reach-stacker. A case has been lodged against the operator of the reach-stacker and the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) has now been made to look into the safety measures. Amongst other measures it is likely that entry into CFS will be more restricted.

Maersk attempt at larger stake in Pipavav Port hits a roadblock

Maersk, which holds about 12.5% stake in Pipavav Port, had evinced an interest in acquiring a larger stake from the principle promoters, Seaking Infrastructure, but their conditions have not met with approval. Exclusive access to certain facilities and their keenness on retaining promoter Nikhil Advani on the board has made Seaking Infrastructure to do a rethink and the takeover process is likely to start all over again with a revised set of terms and conditions.

Privatization of ports-a case of double speak?

A survey conducted by International Association of Ports and Harbours of the top 100 container ports has cited that public organisations have still a larger role to play in ports and private sector participation is still minuscule. The emerging argument is that if overseas markets are to be accessed shipping services should come at lower costs. It is also being observed that though developing countries are being pressurized by IMF and WTO to privatize the developed countries are still allowing government funding into ports leading to a case of hidden subsidies.

Gateway Distriparks boosts capacity

Mr.Yeo Cheow Tong, Singapore minister for transport, inaugurated an expansion of 36,000 TEUs at the Container Freight Station (CFS) of Gateway Distriparks Limited (GDL) in Mumbai. Its throughtput was 93,000 containers last year and it aims to make it 1.3 lakhs this fiscal. GDL is a joint venture of Newsprint Trading & Sales Corporation of India and Windmill International Pte Ltd., Parmeswara Holdings, Thakral Corporation Ltd of Singapore.

Sagar Mala cess fraught with loopholes

One of the many suggestions that have come up is the levy of a maritime cess of 5 paise per kg of all cargoes passing through Indian ports for the next ten years. It is being held that the cess will be quite exorbitant for low cost cargo and either an exemption or a grading should be arrived at. Also, the other concern is that the cess receipts will be credited to Consolidated Funds of India and thus expose them to the budget and the funds raised through the cess get into the danger of being diverted to activities other than the Sagar Mala Project.

Maersk and Concor to bid jointly for JNPT terminal

Maersk A.S. and Container Corporation of India Ltd (Concor) have decided to jointly bid for the third terminal that is being developed at Jawaharlal Nehru Port. This will be an opportunity for Concor to get into handling of containers at ports. The other bidders for the Rs 1,200-crore project include amongst others PSA Corp from Singapore, West Port from Malaysia, Sea King Infrastructure Ltd. The deadline for submission of bids is December 1.

Wage hike for foreign going officers

Basic wages and other related allowances have been enhanced by 7% from April 1, 2002 for all foreign bound officers. The 7% also includes certificate bonus, noisy repair allowance, dirty cargo allowance, lighter allowance and radio allowance. Mr.Arun Sharma, chairman of Negotiating Committee and president of GE Shipping and Mr. S S Khan, general secretary of MUI signed an agreement to that effect on October 23. Also, the arrears will be settled in the next 30 days.

Prowl for second hand tankers

GE Shipping and Mercator Lines Ltd are continuing their second hand tanker buying spree. They have bought many tankers last year and are still on the prowl. GE is keen on crude and product tankers while Mercator is looking for coastal tankers.

Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) gets partners for Nhava Sheva bid.

Nusli Wadia and IDFC are the two partners that would partner PSA in its Nhava Sheva bid though they would both be minority holders. IDFC has previously drafted guidelines for various projects pertaining to privatization of ports and Wadia has had business interest in maritime in the past.

Kolkata Dock System (KDS) to curtail charges

The drop in terminal handling charges (THC) that are due in December will also bring down the cost of handling containers at KDC. However, the extent of reduction is still to be sorted out and would be valid for shipments through ‘non-container parking yard’ as shipments through ‘container parking yard’ are already are low comparatively. It is to be noted that the terminal handling charges in KDC have been amongst the highest in the country.

Move to de-link oil PSUs from Shipping Ministry opposed

So far the PSUs have had to make shipping arrangements through Transchart, the centralized chartering wing of the Shipping Ministry. However, the oil PSUs have demanded the freedom to chose their own tankers as the monopoly of Transchart is not allowing them to be at an equal footing with their private peers. The Shipping Ministry has opposed the move by claiming that setting up multiple chartering wings will only increase government costs and Transchart is not only making arrangements at the most competitive rates but is also subject to adequate audits and checks.




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