The major port trusts owned by the Centre are “not keen” on promoting transhipment of containers at their ports. This has come as an embarrassment to the Shipping Ministry, after it lifted cabotage restrictions in May to permit foreign container ships to ply on local routes.
Cabotage was eased to promote container transhipment in India and cut the dependence on Colombo to send and receive containers, which entailed extra time and costs for exporters and importers (EXIM).
The major port trusts don’t have a strategy in place yet vis-à-vis transhipment,” said Capt Deepak Tiwari, Chairman of the Container Shipping Lines’ Association (CSLA), a lobby group. “They have their own hinterland cargo of exports and imports, so transhipment doesn’t make sense,” he said, adding that “maximum transhipment is happening at non-major ports such as Mundra, Krishnapatnam, Kattupalli and a little bit in Hazira”.
Shipping lines are ready to give a minimum volume assurance, but major port trusts are not “willing to negotiate” on their vessel-related and transhipment charges, he noted.
Read more at The Hindu.