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Chidambaranar port to levy ‘lighterage' fee

Chidambaranar port to levy ‘lighterage' fee - 2011-07-01

Large-size ships using the anchorage of VO Chidambaranar port (formerly Tuticorin port) to unload excess cargo on to barges, need to pay a ‘lighterage' fee for such operations. Further, a fee of Rs 3 per tonne will be collected for cargo handling operations carried out at the anchorage. The Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) has approved the fees, which will be included in the port's Scale of Rates. Vessels carrying coal, food grains and pulses with a draught of more than 10.7 metres cannot be directly handled at the berths due to draft restrictions (of 10.7 metres). They need to be lightered at the anchorage up to a permissible draft and then berthed for further unloading. In the last three years, the number of vessels that have lightened cargo at the anchorage has tripled. The current Scale of Rates prescribes anchorage fees but there is no such rate for cargo handling operations being carried out at anchorage. Deep draught vessels carrying coal, foodgrains and pulses, arriving with a draught of more than 10.7 metres, after lightening to a draught of 10.7 or 9.3 metres, as the case may be, will be handled at the berth for further unloading. The TAMP has now approved the fee for ‘lighterage' operations for any vessel in anchorage in the port waters within the notified port limits. The fee will be 25 per cent of berth-hire charges relevant to the vessel from the date of commencement of anchorage operations to the date of completion. The barges carrying lightered cargo will be permitted to be berthed at Zone ‘A'. The lightered cargo can be handled in Zone ‘B' on payment of vessel-related charges and wharfage charges. It has been observed that some of the major ports while collecting a fee for cargo handling at anchorage adjust the same, or, in some cases, levy reduced wharfage / port charges for subsequent handling of the lightered cargo at the port's berth. The VO Chidambaranar Port Trust (VOCPT), however, has not proposed any such adjustment or reduction in the wharfage rate when the cargo lightered at the anchorage is subsequently brought by barges and handled at the port's berth. When the port's second capital dredging project is completed by October 2011, the need for operations at anchorage may reduce but cannot be discontinued fully. The VOCPT's proposed rate of Rs 3 per tonne for lighterage operations is to meet the expenditure incurred by the port in adhering to various environmental measures mandated by the Pollution Control Board, the TAMP said in its order. Source: Business Line