Non-mainline box trade set to rise

Our Bureau | Updated on May 22, 2011 Published on May 22, 2011

A-65, ASR-251202 - DECEMBER 25, 2008 - Attari: Border Security Force personnel on vigil as Samjhauta Express train coming from Pakistan crosses Attari border gate in Amritsar on Thursday. PTI Photo   -  PTI

Trade volumes on non-mainline east-west trades for 2011 have been revised upwards by 7.3 per cent from the 17.6 million TEU projected in March to 18.9 million TEU forecast in April, according to the latest figures released by Clarkson Research Services. However, growth projections have dimmed a little on the major east-west trades. In its latest Container Intelligence Monthly report, Clarkson's analysts project that volumes on the non-mainline east-west trades, which covers shipments between North America-Europe-the Far East and the Middle East-Indian Subcontinent, will grow by 11.8 per cent in 2011. In March Clarkson expected 2011 containerised volumes to grow by 9.8 per cent, but in April the group revised the figure to 9.7 per cent. This would mean that the containerised volumes for the year would reach 154 million TEU, which is still an impressive jump from last year's 140 million TEU.

Indo-Pak rail traffic may increase

Reports have it that the railway officials of India and Pakistan have agreed to operate four freight trains — against the two now — through the Attari (India)-Wagah (Pakistan) border. They also agreed to introduce on the route eight-wheeler wagons in place of the present four-wheeler types and discussed the scope of running freight trains on the Munabbao-Kokhrapar sector in western region. Three years ago, the same issues were deliberated between the two countries; and, as it now appears, nothing came out of it. Let us hope that something more concrete will emerge from the latest round of discussion. Before Independence, eight Mail/Express trains — including one pair each between Mumbai and Peshawar and between Howrah (Calcutta) and Pathankot —ran on the Amritsar-Lahore section of the then North Western Railway. The 32 km between Amritsar and Lahore was covered in 45 minutes in those steam-engine days. Today, it takes several hours to cover the same distance thanks to Customs and Immigration checking and the requirement to comply with a plethora of formalities.

Nothing official about it

Under Section 93 of the Motor Vehicles Act-1988, no person should act as a road transport agent without obtaining Public Carrier Goods Agent Licence. Any violation of the rule will invite action under Section 193 of the same Act. The order in this regard was issued by the Union Government in February 2004, setting March 31, 2004, as the deadline. It might, therefore, be interesting to know how many Public Carrier Goods Agents Licences have been issued so far. Inquiries in this regard yield no results. The Ministry concerned in the Union Government pleads innocence, pointing out that registration of vehicles is not its job. The State governments take cover under the pretext that nobody applies for licence. Does that mean the road transport agents have disappeared from the face of the earth? Quite the opposite. But the governments, either at the Centre or at the State-level, refuse to act. One goods transport association even filed an application under the RTI to get at the truth but nothing came of it. In some cases, it is alleged, the relevant file is missing from government department concerned.

Colombo port on upgrade mode

A report from London's Containerisation International suggests that port of Colombo is upgrading its feeder berth and augmenting handling capacity to cope with the projected growth in throughput — from 19 per cent entailing an increase of 4.1 million TEUs last year to 22 per cent year on year. Quoting Sri Lanka Port Authority Chairman, the report says a replacement programme of six post-Panamax super gantry cranes, 15 RTGs and 50 yard tractors at the feeder berth measuring about 200 metres is to support a growth of 10 to 12 per cent. A fourth berth of 400 metres will be ready for operation by 2012 in South Harbour. A (build-operate-transfer agreement for a terminal at the same harbour is expected to reach first phase development (600 metres) by mid-2013. Aitken Spence Shipping, a private operator, has teamed up with China Merchant to set up a terminal of 2.4 million TEUs annually, the report adds.

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on May 22, 2011
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor