Calcutta Feeder Operators may be asked to withdraw surcharge on shipments

Kolkata | Updated on January 25, 2011 Published on January 25, 2011

The representatives of Singapore-based Calcutta Feeder Operators (Calfo), the body of feeder lines offering services between Kolkata port and Singapore, who are due to meet the Chairman of Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT), Mr M. L. Meena, here on Friday, will be told to withdraw immediately the trade surcharge slapped by the member feeder lines on all shipments between the two ports.

There are half-a-dozen members of Calfo.

“I'll tell them to withdraw the surcharge forthwith; otherwise I'll stop extending priority berthing facility to their vessels”, Mr Meena told Business Line, here on Tuesday.

“As it is, not all lines are charging the surcharge and many of those charging are doing so in a half-hearted manner”, Mr Meena observed, emphasising there was no valid ground for charging the surcharge of $150 per TEU.

When contacted, Calfo sources expressed the hope that the forthcoming meeting should be able to remove “the cobweb of misunderstanding” between the port management and the feeder operators.

The sources conceded that the implementation of the surcharge had not been done in a proper way.

Some lines had clubbed it with basic freight and saying they were not charging it, while some others were charging negotiated rates, that is, rates finalised following negotiations between the shipper and the line concerned. Those offering guaranteed traffic were being charged at a reduced rate.

Earlier, while addressing the members of the Bengal National Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the KoPT Chairman said the port limit of Kolkata port had been extended to cover the Kanika Sands too, an island off Orissa coast. This should help KoPT undertake transloading operation for dry bulk cargo throughout the year — monsoon months in Kanika Sands and dry season in the Sandheads, the mouth of the Hooghly River.

“If the kind of response received from the international operators is any indication, it should be possible to start transloading operation within a year or so,” he observed.

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Published on January 25, 2011
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