Logistics

Concor discontinues coastal shipping operations

P Manoj Mumbai | Updated on December 18, 2020 Published on December 18, 2020

Cargo ships at Cochin Port (file photo). Concor entered coastal shipping linking Deendayal Port Trust in Kandla with V O Chidambaranar Port Trust in Tuticorin with stops at New Mangalore Port Trust and Cochin Port Trust   -  Thulasi Kakkat

Rail hauler working on a new model to service customers

State-run Container Corporation of India Ltd (Concor) has discontinued its coastal shipping operations — started with much fanfare — in a blow to the government’s plan to promote an alternate and environment-friendly mode to transport goods.

The rail hauler is working on a new model — possibly a slot arrangement with container carriers — to service customers, sources said.

The development comes at a time when the Sagarmala Development Company Ltd (SDCL) has invited expression of interest to operationalise specialised vessels on select origin-destination routes in coastal areas and inland waterways from Indian companies engaged in inland barge and river sea vessel operations.

Concor carries out internal restructuring to stay fit, profitable

Covid disruptions

SDCL is a Central public sector undertaking under the administrative control of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.

SDCL is looking to leverage the country’s long coastline to ensure faster and hassle-free transportation of passengers and cargo through specialised vessels to destinations that are currently accessible through long and tortuous road journeys and to develop requisite infrastructure for smooth handling of such vessels.

Concor entered coastal shipping in January 2019, linking Deendayal Port Trust in Kandla with V O Chidambaranar Port Trust in Tuticorin with stops at New Mangalore Port Trust and Cochin Port Trust by a weekly call.

The operations were halted after the 59th sailing on March 27 in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

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Concor had picked Vishwa Samudra Coastal Lines Ltd on a tender to launch the Western coast service, seeking to benefit from the impetus given by the government to the waterway mode to decongest road and rail.

The ten-year contract deployed two coastal ships, each capable of carrying as much as 700 twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs with maximum gross weight of 21,000 tonnes (cargo plus container weight).

The two ships were idling between March 27 and June after which they were off-hired and returned to Vishwa Samudra Coastal Lines who, in turn, returned them to their owners, Mumbai-listed Shreyas Shipping & Logistics Ltd.

Vishwa Samudra had hired the ships from Shreyas for ten years to be deployed exclusively on Concor’s coastal services.

Seaport Cargo Logistics Pvt Ltd, a unit of the Hyderabad-based CVR Group, the former promoter of Krishnapatnam Port, holds a 60 per cent stake in Vishwa Samudra Coastal Lines with Hyderabad-based Vm Logistics Consulting LLP holding the balance stake in the joint venture company.

The pandemic also disrupted Concor’s plan to launch a similar service on the eastern coast linking Chennai Port with Dhaka in Bangladesh through Vishwa Samudra Coastal Lines.

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Published on December 18, 2020
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