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i-maritime News Service

Illegal mining ban hits iron ore exports - 2012-04-09


All iron-ore exporting ports took a big hit in 2011-12 due to various reasons, the most important being the restriction on illegal mining in major ore-producing States. The flow of the mineral from the mines to the ports has reduced to a thin trickle. The Mormugao port, the country's largest ore-exporting port, suffered an estimated 22 per cent decline in throughput as supplies from mines located in Goa and Karnataka dropped sharply. Iron ore accounts for nearly 80 per cent of the port's total traffic. In 2011-12, the port handled a total of 39 million tonnes (mt) of traffic including 29.37 mt of iron-ore exports. The corresponding figures for 2010-11 were 50.02 mt and 40.63 mt respectively. More than the ban, what is reportedly causing concern is the lack of accountability on the part of some of the non-major ports in the neighbourhood with regard to handling of illegally mined ore even as the Mormuga port authorities go strictly by the no-objection certificates (NOC) issued by the State Government prior to allowing exports of the ore from the port. What is more, the Mormugao port authorities insist on the inclusion of the name of the shipper in the NOC as an additional safeguard. The State Government is yet to respond to it.

Freight groups forming cartels have been fined €169 million by the European Commission, says a recent report in the Financial Times. “We will continue to fight cartels as our number one priority, because they are most harmful activity breaching our competition rules,” the Competition Commissioner of European Union has been quoted as saying in the report. According to the report, between 2002 and 2007, four cartels involving 14 companies illegally set charges on goods sent on important trade routes between the US, Europe and Asia. Kuehne & Nagel, the Swiss logistics group, has been fined €53.7 million while Panalpina , another Swiss Group, €46. 5 million. The competition officials broke the cartel after being approached with incriminating information by Deutsche Post, the owner of DHL, which has been awarded immunity from fines. Interestingly, the venue of the meeting of the cartel members was an unpretentious Italian restaurant on the outskirts of London. As expected, the owner of the restaurant was totally clueless about the illegal activities on his premises. “If they talk business, we don't listen; we concentrate on food.” Some members of the cartel have expressed reservation saying the Commission had “not correctly investigated the facts.”