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i-maritime Newsletter

Kochi port to go for mechanised bagging plant for faster evacuation of cargo - 2011-12-12

The highly unionised Kochi port has decided to go in for a mechanised bagging plant to ensure faster evacuation of cargo, particularly imported fertiliser. For the past few days, the port has been trying to sort out with the unions the low rate of handling fertiliser at the bulk terminal. Piling up of imported fertiliser at the port has reportedly led to shortage of urea and potash in the open market. Senior port officials said that the port has been facing labour shortage especially in handling fertiliser and similar products, even though there are 2,500 workers registered with the Kerala Head Load Workers Welfare Board, which supplies labour to the port. They said these workers are not willing to go from one section to another because of the different nature of jobs and this has led to labour scarcity especially in fertiliser handling. The officials said that the port would either set up its own facility or ask a third-party to create it. The idea is to create a facility for packaging and bagging of fertiliser would enable speedy clearance of cargo, as the machine could able to handle more than 3,000 tonnes a day. A port official said the decision was conveyed to the trade unions at the meeting convened by the port management to discuss the issue for the speedy clearance of imported fertiliser. Though the trade unions have promised to enhance the rate of evacuation of cargo by deploying more number of workers, the situation has not changed much. There was only a nominal increase in the rate evacuation of fertilisers as on today, which is in the range of only 800 tonnes/day. Of the 27,500 tonnes of imported potash, around 13,600 tonnes were still waiting to be evacuated. Likewise 18,500 tonnes of urea is still in the port premises out of the total 23,400 tonnes. The port, the officials said, they are expecting two more imported fertiliser vessels in a month's time and it is necessary to go in for a mechanised bagging plant otherwise the port will lose its business of handling similar type of cargo in future.

Source: Hindu Business Line