Port Wings News Network:
With the Tamil Nadu state government failing to respond to the passionate plea from Chennai Port management to allow the movement of different cargo-laden vehicles through Gate No-10 (War Memorial Gate) to save EXIM trade, the future of the port in limbo.
According to sources, the port management had sent a detailed representation to Mr C V Shankar, Additional Chief Secretary to the Tamil Nadu government (Industries Dept) and Mr S George, Chennai City Police Commissioner in the first week of December on the impact of ban on movement of vehicles from Chennai Port (along Poonamalle High Road) through Gate No-10. However, nothing moved since then and the ban started affecting the port’s growth very badly.
Citing facilitation to Metro Rail work on the Poonamalle Road, Chennai City Traffic Police authorities in mid-November imposed a blanket ban on movement of all types of cargo-laden vehicles (car carrier trucks, granite-laden trailers, general cargo carrying vehicles and certain container trailers) from Gate No-10.
Officially, Chennai Port has 10 gates for movement of cargoes. When it comes to actual usage, only three gates are in operation now. Though volume of cargo (both breakbulk and containerized) and traffic (both heavy vehicles and container trailers) has grown up several times over the years, only these three gates cater to all the movement.
While Zero Gate alone has round-the-clock movement facility now, other two gates -- 2A and No-10 (opposite to War Memorial) are used for movement only during late night hours.
Out of the total 2000-odd vehicles entering the port, about 65% -75% vehicles enter through Zero Gate situated at the northern end of the port and around 20 % move through the Gate No-10. Prior to 2009, the gate used to handle around 900 vehicles (both entry and exit).
According to port sources, due to the latest restrictions imposed by the Chennai City Traffic Police, the EXIM trade (using Chennai Port for their needs), which is already affected by the congestion on Ennore-Manali Road (EMRIP), is severely handicapped.
INFLUENCE BY CAR CARRIERS:
However, car carriers, using their “influence” in the port management and the Police Department, got the relaxation within few days and resumed movement.
According to exim trade, while it remains mystery on how the car carriers got the relaxation within days, another important segment like granite, is still not being given permission to resume movement through Gate 10.
When contacted Mr I Jeyakumar, Deputy Chairman of Chennai Port Trust, on the allegations of influence by car carriers, he refused to divulge any details.
Due to the ban, movement of rough Granite blocks to Chennai Port has been badly affected and the port could face a serious revenue fall in coming months.
If the ban on movement of vehicles through War Memorial Gate is not relaxed soon, it will badly reflect on the industries located in Tamil Nadu state as well as the EXIM trade based out of Chennai, warned an expert from freight forwarding association.
“Chennai City Police, in consultation with the Port authorities and the EXIM fraternity, could devise a mechanism, which could be win-win for all. Moreover, the Tamil Nadu government should understand that vehicles coming from western parts of the city to the port cannot go and join the already lengthy queue on EMRIP in northern Chennai, which could add more problems to movement,” the expert added.
According to a stakeholder, if the police authorities form a convoy system to regulate movement of vehicles from the Gate, it will serve both the purpose, as it will streamline cargo movement without affecting the Metro Rail work along Poonamalle Road.
Speaking to Port Wings, another senior official from the port clarified that they (port management) are not in a position to ban entry of any vehicles through the gate and it is the police department of Tamil Nadu Government did it.