Vallarpadam box terminal reeling under teething problems

V. Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on March 02, 2011

A view of the Vallarpadam terminal.   -  Business Line

The just commissioned International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) at Vallarpadam is apparently reeling under various teething problems such as congestion, complaints from exporters on high increase in costs especially in the terminal handling charges making their operations costly in the new facility.

Hiccups in new terminal

According to sources in the shipping fraternity, the new terminal is facing serious congestion in the recent period with around 7,800 TEUs are in stacks comprising 4,800 TEUs imports and the remaining exports. The delay in clearing the cargo due to intermittent strikes, shortage of container freight stations in the nearby areas are stated to be the main reasons for the congestion.

Space crunch

The congestion has resulted in lack of space in the terminal forcing exporters to keep the cargo on board the trailers itself for several days. Moreover, with the commencement of operations at ICTT, it has been made mandatory that every imported container will be transported to the approved CFS for mandatory inspection and clearance. It was allowed earlier that the importer can take the cargo to his godown directly from the terminal itself. Considering the present situation of congestion, the authorities should take a lenient view in this regard to ease the problems, the sources said.

Revised handling charges

Meanwhile, marine exporters pointed out that the revised terminal handling charges for reefer containers is fixed at Rs 13,531 for 20-foot containers as against the earlier rate of Rs 6,575 and Rs 18,780 for 40-foot containers as against Rs 8,838 earlier.

This represents approximately 106 per cent and 113 per cent increase over the previous rates and the terminal operator increased the rates without any discussions with the trade. This is an arbitrary and unwarranted increase especially when labour requirement has come down from 14 people to seven for handling due to mechanisation, they point out.

pre-stage charges

Besides, the terminal operator is continuing with the practice of collecting pre-stage charges of Rs 500 a container when they took over the operations of Rajiv Gandhi Container Terminal (RGCT).

Import inspection charges

As operators of IGTPL, inspection and data input of the containers that arrive at the terminal are administrative practices and no additional charges can be levied, exporters community says.

Cashew exports

The cashew exporters also highlighted the problems faced in the terminal and requested the authorities to consider and evaluate the cost of all processes for the benefit of the trade.

Charges for moving containers to CFS

They requested that the import containers should be allowed to be cleared from the ICTT directly without moving to CFS considering the cost implications as the movement of containers to CFS will mean additional cost.

The cashew trade also requested the Commodity Boards, Export Promotion Council and other trade organisations to take up the matter with Kochi port to help exporters to have smooth operations without additional cost burden.

When contacted, Mr K.K. Krishnadas, Chief Executive Officer, DP World - Kochi, pointed out that the company with other stakeholders are working together to sort out the issue of congestion and moving around 500 containers from the terminal on a daily basis.

Referring to the higher terminal handling charges, he said they are charging only Rs 500 extra which is approved by Tariff Authority of Major Ports.

On import inspection, he said this has been carrying out according to Customs procedures and there is no facility inside the terminal to inspect import containers. This is in line with the practice happening in other places also, he added.

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Published on March 02, 2011
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