Hiking custom duty from 5% to 15% along with the scrapping of the 15% counter-veiling duty and 5% special additional duty has reportedly led to cases of illegal transactions by way of money laundering and under-invoicing. Evasion in ship-breaking business at Alang is undertaken by the connivance of three parties viz.ship-owner, ship breaker and the middleman who make cash payments and under-invoice transactions.
Two maritime universities, a new terminal at Ennore Port and involving landlocked states are some of the features of the Sagar Mala infrastructure project. A special task force will also be set up to oversee the project which has a whopping 85% financial dependence on private players.
Privatization remains a controversial issue with SCI bidding now being indefinitely deferred by the government. After evincing an interest from three bidders-Sterlite, Essar and Videocon and deciding to close the bid on October 20 the government has now had to reconsider the situation. A writ petition by employees has argued that on account of two national firms, Mogul Lines and Jayanti Shipping, being part of SCI the disinvestments should be put through a parliamentary approval.
The expert committee working on the final draft of tonnage tax regime has asked for more time to come up with the relevant document as loopholes become a subject of concern for Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). The CBDT wants to ensure that only genuine sources of income should come in the ambit and only vessels under the fold of Merchant Shipping Act (MSA) and Coasting Vessels Act (CVA) will be part of the new system.
Gateway Dsitriparks, Maersk, ULA, All Cargo are some of private players who have encashed the flight of shippers from Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) whose congestion problems have been compounded by the strike called by contract employees. CWC officials have not indicated any shift from its current system of contract labour and hiring equipment.
US State Department has cautioned that Al-Qaeda may also be using the maritime route to wreak terrorism and has set up a Proliferation Security Initiative(PSI) which would deal with WMD transportation and production through ships. Eleven countries are supporting the initiative and there is a wave of concern sweeping across US and European countries. USS Cole was attacked in October 2000 and in 2001 a French oil tanker was also attacked through the use of explosives carried by boats.
14 Indian vessels were detained by Port State Control (PSC) inspections by the members of Paris MOU. The reasons cited have mainly been slipshod housekeeping and negligent safety culture. The detention means the loss of revenues between $15,000-30,000 per day per vessel by way of charter freight revenues. The immediate repercussion of being in the blacklist is that inspection of Indian ships will be more stringent.
Compelled by the pendency problem that is hitting Chennai and has already hit Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal (NSICT). The management at Concor took the view that the volume of exports sent from north India to Chennai was too low to be feasible and has offered ‘promotional rates’ in that direction. The move has been actively supported by P&O Ports.
South West Port Ltd. has acquired two berths 5A and 6A of the port and proposes to
install equipment such as conveyor system, stacker reclaimers and wagon loaders to
handle bulk materials. L&T, Metso, Elecon are some of the players to grab the business.
MECON is the consulting the company to see through the purchase of equipment.
Having run to rough weather, the Vallarpadam Project is struggling to see the light of day. Mr.Pai, President of Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged that all concerned parties should make a concerted attempt to revive the project that will make the Kochi Port viable. Bidders have not responded and the Union Government is working on restructuring the project.
Concor is likely to revise the haulage rates between inward container deports (ICD) and Visakha Container Terminal (VCT). Visakha, the terminal at Vishakhapatnam port, attracts to components in its transportation cost viz.railway and road. The road bridging may be removed, as the rail is likely to be connected to quayside. Also, currently the transportation is handled by both Concor and port railway authorities and there is a likelihood of Concor handling it entirely on its own.
Chennai Container Terminal Ltd.(CCTL) has now launched a mobile number 9841006622 that will provide information services to its customers. Details about the status of their containers including discharge, gate-in, gate-out, load outdates and invoice details amongst other things can now be obtained with an SMS to the number. Mr.Ganesh Raj, CEO, CCTL holds that with it CCTL has become the first terminal in the world to provide this service. CCTL already provides information facilities through internet.
Marine Engineering and Research Institute at Mumbai has launched a degree course of three years at the end of which a B.Sc.Maritime Sciences Degree will be awarded. The cadets will then be required to undergo 18 months of on-board training which will include both engine and deck aspects of maritime. The cadets then appear for Engineer Officer or Deck Officer certification. The dual certification is likely to take care of the discrepancy in the supply of engineer officers and navigation officers.
A high profile delegation, headed by Mr. Steve Cuthbert, Chief executive, Port of London is holding meeting with shipping and government authorities to discuss business potential in the shipping arena. It is also here to promote the Europe-Pakistan-India Consortium (EPIC) shipping service whose port of call has been transferred to Tilbury. The port offers various benefits to Indian companies on account of its easy access to markets in southeast of England apart from London.
After introducing volume discounts with a view to provide sliding scale of rates the Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) has decided to reconsider the discounts as it feels that the port only losing revenue. A discussion paper tabled argues that volume discounts are useful if there is spare capacity and there is a chance of increasing the volume of cargo but these possibilities do not exist under normal circumstances.