Move to hike Vallarpadam handling charges opposed

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on March 22, 2017

Vallarpadam Terminal

The decision of DP World to hike terminal handling charges at Vallarpadam from April 1 has not gone down well with the Cochin Port Trust.

Maintaining that it would hurt the trade badly, the port management is of the view that volumes at Vallarpadam Terminal can grow only if competitive tariffs are ensured, especially when cargo from the secondary hinterland are targeted. The frequent increase in terminal handling charges is creating a negative sentiment among the ICTT customers, which may prevent growth and even result in diversion of some traffic.

The port trust noted that THC at ICTT was increased by 4.5 per cent last November. The port users have raised concern over the present trade notice intimating a further increase of 4.5 per cent from April 1.

Prakash Iyer, president, Cochin Steamer Agents Association, pointed out that the Kerala High Court had directed the terminal operator to keep 50 per cent of the enhanced rate collected following the revision of THC in November last year in an escrow account pending disposal of a writ petition challenging revision of rates. As this writ petition is pending, the terminal operator has no authority to effect another 4.5 per cent increase from April 1, he said.

The association along with other trade bodies in the port area are chalking out strategies to overcome the situation on account of the fact that high handling costs would impact the exim trade badly.

Kochi Port has already lost considerable import consignments of raw cashew and cement to Tuticorin and New Mangaluru ports due to tariff difference and any further diversion of cargo could affect Kerala's economic prospects, he added.

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Published on March 22, 2017
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