To curb emergence of monopoly in box terminal operations

V. Sajeev Kumar

This development does not auger well with the Government's declared policy and the public interest underlying in it.

Kochi, March 13

The Water Transport Workers Federation of India, one of the five major federations of port and dock workers in the country, has asked the Government to review DP World's take over bid of P&O Ports container terminals in Chennai and JNPT under the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices (MRTP) Act, so as to curb emergence of monopoly in container terminal operations in India.

The Federation President, Mr M.M. Lawrence, cautioned that the move of the DP World to acquire P&O Terminals in India forebodes the emergence of monopoly in container port service.

This development does not auger well with the Government's declared policy and the public interest underlying in it, to facilitate competition in container port service through concession agreements involving private sector partners for operation of container terminals in the country, he said.

Reasons

Mr Lawrence impressed on the Government of the need to curb emergence of monopoly in container terminals during the meeting between the representatives of port workers' federations and the Government held in New Delhi on March 3. The Shipping Secretary, Mr A.K. Mohapatra, held discussions with the labour federations.

The Federation President pointed out that a review of all the existing concession agreements with private sector in all ports would be appropriate to make them conform with the Indian laws.

Examples

He cited two significant developments, which indicate that there is no

laissez faire

in maritime sector.

In Europe, though Maastricht Treaty stands to secure the right of free entry for member nations in non-discriminatory manner, the European parliament recently vetoed a legislation that allows such free entry in cargo handling service in the context of public resistance to such a move.

Another development is the abandonment by DP World of its right on six US ports secured through acquisition in view of public resentment concerning national security.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 14, 2006)
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