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i-maritime news letter

The right cargo-handling model - 2012-01-23


The changing market dynamics has set in motion a new thinking in the country's state-owned port sector: Should major ports still go for a common users' cargo-handling facility or encourage major customers to develop captive facilities?. The common users' facility, as experience suggests, has one drawback — uncertainty of cargo availability and, therefore, income. The flow of traffic may decline, depending on various factors, the general slump in the economy or competition from neighbouring ports offering attractive rates — more so if the neighbouring port is a private port. The captive facility by the major consumers, on the other hand, may yield several advantages to the port. The port does not need to invest in construction of berths and supporting facilities; it will lease out the land and waterfront and earn lease rent. It can also have a revenue-sharing arrangement with the customer for the volume of traffic handled. And it need not worry about the cargo. The customer concerned, in his own interest, will arrange for the cargo to ensure proper utilisation of the facility created.

While dismissing a petition filed by some transporters recently, the two-member bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court upheld the Harynana Government's decision (November 8, 2010) to enforce the relevant provisions of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act 1984 and to take criminal action against those responsible for overloading of trucks, trailers and other goods vehicles. Hopefully, the judgment will provide a shot in the arm to those trying hard to curb the menace of overloading. But resistance to enforcement of the Act is nothing new. Earlier, it happened in several States. What has been particularly upsetting is the casual attitude of several State governments in this regard. As an IFTRT report suggests, States within the National Capital Region are notorious for permitting free movement of overloaded vehicles within their geographical limits. The Union Road Transport Ministry announced some time back that the NHAI would be asked to stop overloaded goods vehicles on the National Highways. It would be interesting to know how many such vehicles have since been brought to justice. Worse, most State governments have stopped taking action against overloading after the announcement.

Source: Hindu Business Line