Stevedores at New Mangalore port seek Ministry intervention on port rentals

Our Bureau Mangalore | Updated on August 30, 2011

Rentals row: A file photo of containers being handled at the New Mangalore port.   -  Business Line

Stevedores at the New Mangalore Port have sought the Shipping Ministry intervention to withdraw the TAMP order increasing the port rentals with retrospective effect from 2007.

In a memorandum sent to the Shipping Ministry, Mr S. Shekhar Pujari, President of New Mangalore Port Stevedores, said that the association is surprised and hurt by the order which increased rentals from 50 per cent to 84 per cent on paved, unpaved and covered areas on long-term and short-term basis.

Timebound contracts

It said that the order of TAMP (Tariff Authority for Major Ports) has been effective from February 20, 2007. It will not be possible for the port users to recover increased rentals from importer/exporter since many of the work orders and contracts are time-bound.

While some of them closed their businesses, some other users are not using the NMPT. “This would only be a heavy burden on handling agent/ stevedores,” the memorandum said.

It said that the port submitted its request for increase in rates with TAMP in March 2007 and the port submitted its valuation report on July 17, 2009. The TAMP order, which expired on February 20, 2007, has been continuously extended till September 30, 2010.

The memorandum said that the TAMP issued the new order no. G-184 dated July 23, 2010 giving the highest ceiling rates.

“When we approached TAMP, we were informed that it is the port which has the full power to reduce the exorbitant rentals/suitable charges to make it prospective. Till date the port has not taken any decision on this issue. But have insisted us to pay the rentals retrospectively w.e.f February 20, 2007,” it said.

The memorandum said that the delay in fixation of port rental was mainly due to the delay on the part of the port and TAMP.

Since no decision was taken by the port authorities, one of the members of the association filed a plea in the Karnataka High Court.

The memorandum said: “The honourable High Court has stayed the demand for payment of rentals retrospectively and ordered to pay it on prospective basis and port users have complied with the same.”

It requested the Shipping Ministry to instruct the NMPT to withdraw the retrospective demand, and collect it prospectively.

Port sources told Business Line that because it is in the Court, the matter is sub-judice, and did not comment on it.

Published on August 30, 2011

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