TUTICORIN: In order to woo importers and exporters of bulk cargo and mainline vessel operators, the VOC Port Trust held meetings with various stakeholders in Mumbai and Chennai recently.
Major importers and exporters handling coal, limestone, cement, petroleum products, edible oil, sugar, fertilizer, windmill blades and other general cargo participated in an interactive session held in Chennai, while a host of Country Heads of Major Container Shipping Lines participated during a network meeting in Mumbai.
The traders were informed of the revision in scale of rates such as removal of anchorage fees, voyage cancellation charges, shifting charges, weekly rental for coal and implementation of flat rate rentals for coal storage. Labour charges have also been reduced to Rs. 30 per tonne from Rs. 70, while vessel-related charges for big size vessels beyond 30,000 GRT (gross register tonnage) have been brought down.
Moreover, volume-based discounts for specific customers who offer guaranteed volume are in the offing.
Chairman T. K. Ramachandran exuded confidence that the port would be developed into a major transshipment hub and a leading logistics hub of South India. As part of the development plan to make the port a transshipment hub, besides increasing the draft to 14.5m from 14.2 m, Berth No. 9 and 10 would be converted into container terminals in the first phase. In phase-II, the draft would further be increased to 15.5m, and a container quay with a length of over 1,000m and 18m draft has been planned in phase-III to attract latest generation mainline vessels to handle transshipment and gateway cargo.
The draft at NCB-I, NCB-II, Coal Jetty-I, Coal Jetty-II, Berth No.8 and 9 would be increased to 14.5m in two months, while a Coastal Employment Unit would be set up to promote port-based industries. On March 15, the port crossed 7 lakh TEUs and is expected to handle
1 million TEUs by the end of next financial year.
POSTED BY Daily Shipping Times.