Friday, November 6, 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Port Wings, October 28, 2015
As anticipated, members in the World Trade Organization put Government of India in the dock on the latter’s decision to restrict import of apples to only one port against a dozen located on West Coast as well as in East Coast of the sprawling country.
Even though the Indian representative successfully defended the move by banking on the very statute meant for global trade, where there is no ban on restricting movement of any goods to only one port of the WTO member country, the defence may be satisfying to the others at WTO but relatively failed to bring cheer among the importers back home.
India also defended the move by saying that the measure does not fall within the definition of an import licensing measure under the Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures and thus is not fit for discussion under the WTO Committee.
However, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Commerce is duty bound to explain to the consumers of imported apples, if not for the importers, on what grounds the decision of restriction on apple import has been arrived.
Despite defending it hollowly at the WTO on the issue, continuing delay from the government on categorically revealing the real reasons behind the sudden restriction leaves options for different interpretation of its intention.
While a section of trade feels it was an act of protectionism by the Modi-led Government to secure local market access for home-grown apples, another group feels it was done in a hastily manner to help a particular player who wants to control the country’s apple market.
Whatever said and done, it is in crystal clear terms that the apple production in home is able to fulfill only 50 % of consumption and the remaining are managed by imports from various countries including the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
And that’s why, these countries vociferously objected to the DGFT’s latest decision to restrict apple imports by terming that the measure has had an impact on trade.
Moreover, after the restriction of import of apples, the cost of Indian apples are likely to increase on par with the imported ones in the areas like Southern India, where the logistics cost to move apples from growing states that are in North India is almost same as importing them from other countries.
So, the government, which has been so far keeping mum on the issue despite demands to disclose the real reasons from different quarters, has to make it clear what it wants. It is time to understand the Newton’s third law which says --For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. India has already acted and this time, reactions may be from USA, Australia and EU nations, where India is exporting various goods.
Port Wings News Network:
With the Tamil Nadu State Government giving its nod to develop the Colachel minor harbour in Kanyakumari district into a Major Transshipment Port few weeks ago, the Ministry of Shipping has accelerated its process to convert the mammoth project into a reality in a shortest possible time.
In an exclusive chat with Port Wings on the sidelines of an event in Chennai recently, Dr. Alok Srivastava, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, said that the (Shipping) Ministry is moving ahead in an unprecedented pace to make the port project a reality.
“We have already called for Consultants for Preparation of Detailed Project Report for Development of Colachel Port. Once the DPR is in our hands, which is expected in about six months time, we will move ahead with the next stage of the project, where we would be finalizing the financial parameters,” Dr Srivastava told Port Wings.
It may be noted that the Ministry of Shipping has already completed the pre-feasibility study of the mammoth port project and said to be convinced with the projections underscored in the report on its potential.
Dr Srivastava stated: “As for as the investment ratio for the project is concerned, Union Government (Shipping Ministry) would hold 76 % share and the rest will be for the State government of Tamil Nadu. In that 76 %, we would pool in funds from the profit making major ports to contribute towards the project.”
POTENTIAL OF COLACHEL PORT
Colachel minor harbour in Southern Tamil Nadu is strategically located in southwest coast of Peninsular India along the world’s busiest shipping route that pass from Europe, Gulf Countries, North Africa etc. through Suez Canal to China, Japan and Pacific Ocean countries.
It may be noted that the harbour is the deepest natural Port in the country with sufficient draft to host the latest 18,000-TEU vessels.
Moreover, Colachel Harbour’s geographical location is ideal to become a major transshipment port for the country as it is located in the right place to cater major ports like Cochin, New Mangalore, Mormugoa , Mumbai, JNPT in the West coast and V O Chidambaranar (Tuticorin), Chennai, Visakhapatnam , Paradip and Kolkata in Eastern side.
In 1995, the Tamil State Government engaged the Tamil Nadu Corporation for Industrial Infrastructure Development (TACID) to conduct feasibility study on Colachel Harbour and the agency submitted a favourable report to Government.
Again, in the instructions of Tamil Nadu Government a Malaysian Port construction Company in 2001 conducted an exhaustive feasibility study on development of Colachel as major transit port for the country and also proposed development of railway and road network around Colachel Port. Besides, the agency also submitted report indicating high economic potential for development of Colachel as Major Port in the interest of the country.
DEPENDENCE OF COLOMBO, SINGAPORE AND JEBEL ALI FOR TRANSSHIPMENT
For all these years, containers originating from the country and bound for far away ports in USA, Europe and Australia are using Colombo, Singapore and Jebel Ali (Dubai) ports for transshipment in the absence of direct services as well as draft limitations for hosting larger vessels.
ADVANTAGES OF COLACHEL
According to maritime experts, if the Colachel Port is developed as envisaged as the country’s major transshipment terminal, it will not only reduce the cost for the EXIM trade, but also help the country to save millions of dollars of foreign exchange now doled out as transshipment costs in those ports. Furthermore, the port may play a vital role in promoting coastal movement of containers meant to be transshipped via Colachel thus reducing pressure on road mode.
Friday, October 23, 2015
Port Wings News Network:
Chennai Port’s proposal to have a world-class Coal Handling Facility before the Supreme Court hangs in balance as the next hearing is slated to begin in November.
According to sources, the proposal, submitted by the port management, is fully backed by the Government of Tamil Nadu and Indian Railways for the business opportunity as well as long-term energy security to the state.
STORY SO FAR
Chennai Port was handling about 10 Million Tonnes of coal per annum at JD(East) Berths until the High Court of Madras vide Its Order in May, 2011, imposed a ban on handling dusty cargoes including coal at Chennai Port from October 2011. The Port has suffered a loss of cargo of about 18 Million Tonnes comprising Iron Ore and Coal.
With the ban in Chennai Port, other ports in the vicinity including the private ports located in Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry have garnered the share of the port.
As the port’s revenue was dwindling away, the port management decided to move the higher court with a proposal to restart the coal movement via Chennai with modern and globally accepted non-polluting methods.
Thereafter, the Port filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in response to the Order of the High Court of Madras. While considering the plea of the Port, the Supreme Court constituted the Empowered Committee in April 2012 and directed the Committee to examine the stand of the Chennai Port as per their affidavit. The Empowered Committee then directed the Technical Sub-Committee to look into the issues raised by the ChPT in the affidavit and submit a factual report.
In the report, it was pointed out that there is no scope for retaining the operation of dusty cargo in Chennai Port. However, during the hearing of Special Leave Petition in March this year, the Supreme Court heard the Appeal and asked the port to submit a fresh proposal to handle coal within the stringent environmental conditions.
According to sources, if the Supreme Court is impressed with the proposal of the Chennai Port to handle coal in unique as well as non-polluting way, the Court may give its nod to restart coal operations in Chennai that was stopped more than four years ago.
According to sources in the port, the proposed system is envisaged in line with the best practices across globe in city ports such as Rotterdam, Hamburg and Hamburg. Besides, the port also imbibed Indian best practices from JSW Jaigarh Port and new Adani Terminal at Mormugao Port. It may be noted that Rotterdam manages 42 MT coal, close to the residential colonies and operating under more stringent environmental norms.
Speaking to Port Wings, a senior official from the port said, “Under the new proposal, coal would be handled strictly through closed conveyor system. For evacuation of coal, Railway wagons would be utilized fully and there won’t be any trucking.”
The port also proposes to have a strong monitoring and feedback system. In line with the best practices in the world and said to be the first of its kind in the country, the port proposes to have “auto-cut feature,” real-time monitoring at 12 locations with results displayed at key locations and E-nose system.
It may be noted that if the Supreme Court allows the coal handling at the Chennai Port, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has committed to appoint an Assistant Environmental Engineer for monitoring environmental parameters exclusively at the port.
According to official sources, the port, which is suffering decline in throughput and reduced asset utilization, with coal operations will be able to meet long term pension commitments.
WILL COAL COME BACK TO CHENNAI PORT?
According to industry sources, the chances of restarting coal handling at Chennai Port is bright as the port management seems to presented a new proposal based on global best practices. Now it remains to see, whether the Apex Court is impressed with the Port’s proposal and gives its nod to restart coal handling soon.
On the other hand, the port management is gearing up to meet any condition may be put forward by the Supreme Court as a rider for the proposal.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Port Wings, Oct 21, 2015:
For the tenth month in a row, India’s merchandise exports and imports have recorded its steepest downward trend.
Though the message is clear and loud, and situation in exim sector is turning from bad to worse, the government machinery is still in deep slumber.
In other words, the promising words of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on different podiums both in the country as well as in overseas on ensuring better trade atmosphere, seems to be just words without corroborating actions.
More specifically, in the past six months, our exports are declining on a rate that never been expected by the market analysts and trade pundits. The latest one in September – about 25 % -- is not only shocking to the entire trade community, but also bares the promises of government is aware of the fact and taking actions.
The trade community feels let off by the Modi-led government and there has been a sense of outrage against the Government for its vision-less as well as crooked economic policies that has landed them in a pool of uncertainties.
Every other organizations, be it FIEO or other trade associations, were appealing to the authorities concerned for the past 10 months to take corrective measures and bring the confidence back among the trade. However, nothing seems to be working in favour of the Indian exporters and they are now left to fight for their own for survival in the unknown territory.
With the trade data descending into negative trajectory for the past 10 months, the Modi-led NDA Government have an onerous task of bringing back the exports in positive trajectory to make the MAKE IN INDIA project a reality.
Though the season of festival in the country has just began, the condition of exporters is worse than traders now and the expectation is high among them that the government will take some corrective measure soon on war-footing to stop the negative trend.
If the government fails again and the same trend continues for some more months, not only the exim trade will be in doldrums but the whole country.
Moreover, the election festival will begin in April next year and the Union Government will be in a delicate position to talk on any economic reforms without performing on this front. The trade community in the country likes to see a government of action than just words at the Centre.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Port Wings, Oct 14, 2015:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his aggressive election campaign in 2014 often repeated before the crowd that his experience in governance in State of Gujarat would help to ensure good governance in Union Government as well as to ensure India is back on its feet as a global economic power.
However, 16 months have passed by now and there is not a single sign of utilization of Gujarat experience has seen anywhere from the Modi-led Government as for as the economic affairs are concerned, as EXIM figures falling continuously without any support from the government.
On the other hand, Modi’s Gujarat experience seems to be got its way into New Delhi’s policies as a few pointers like cow-slaughter issues, beef ban, Hindification of India and saffronisation of education system are clearly indicating what is the Modi-Government’s priorities at the Centre now.
Well, these planks are the well-known facets of the organization, which gave birth to BJP and fed the party until now to accomplish its unfinished agendas in the country. But the voters, who selected the party and elected Mr Narendra Modi lead the nation last year, has had their hopes pinned on him as his speeches inspired them a lot.
But to their dismay, the economy is running on its own and the Modi government is still unable to identify the black holes in the system and rectify it before they attain a monstrous proportion thus bringing down the entire financial system of the country.
Even though the reports on EXIM merchandise month after month has been clearly indicating the need for urgent response from the government, nothing as concrete as actions moved beyond the board rooms of the government offices.
At this critical juncture, where the government’s priority has to be on bringing back the economy on track, Modi-led government is busy playing to the gallery.
Furthermore, the Modi government’s general image of being pro-corporate and pro-capitalist has also suffered very badly of late as the very corporate world, except a few, seems disappointed with him and his way of treating the elite herd.
Corporate honchos, who were among his team of cheerleaders in his initial months, are now openly speaking about how the Modi government lost its sheen over the period.
They openly blame the government is not helping the corporate world with tax reliefs neither is it making good on its promise of delivering.
Furthermore, the disappointment, which runs deep within the corporate world as well as among the start-ups too, has a cascading effect on the already fragile economy.
So, the time has come for the Modi-led government to turn its full focus towards bringing back economy on track than spending more time to non-issues like beef-ban and so on.
Saturday, October 3, 2015
Port Wings News Network:
Signaling the arrival in Chennai’s EXIM trade map, Adani Group, headed by Mr Gautam Adani, has taken over the Kattupalli International Container Terminal (KICT), promoted by engineering major Larsen & Toubro at Kattupalli Port in Tamil Nadu.
According to highly placed sources, a team from Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) taken over the day-to-day management of KICT under “Operations and Maintenance” concept with effect from Oct 01 from L&T team at the port.
According to a BSE filing on Oct 1, Adani Ports (Adani) announced that it has entered into a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with L&T Shipbuilding (L&T) for evaluating the operations of the Port at Kattupalli, Tamil Nadu, with effect from October 2015 for one month.
It’s worth mentioning here that Port Wings in July had published the news of possible taking over of KICT management from L&T in next few months.
According to details available, Mr G J Rao, Director at Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd is most likely to be appointed as head of KICT.
It may be noted that Mr G J Rao had held top positions in Union-Govt’s major ports like, Chennai, Tuticorin and Paradip before joining the Adani Group.
Furthermore, sources added that the existing L&T Ports staff are most likely to be retained in their same positions until the new set up comes in place in coming weeks.
Eventhough rumours were flying thick for last six months, the news of Adani’s possible taking over of Kattupalli Terminal gained ground only in July when the officials of Adani Group and L&T had jointly organized a reefer trade meet in Chennai and sought the trade’s “support.”
STAKEHOLDERS OF KATTUPALLI PORT:
Kattupalli Port is promoted by L&T Ports, a division of L&T Shipbuilding Limited, a joint venture company formed by Larsen & Toubro Limited and Government of Tamil Nadu’s trade arm Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation Limited (TIDCO). While the L&T holds 97 % in the shipyard cum port complex project, Tamil Nadu Government (through TIDCO) holds 3 % share.
MUNDRA OF EAST COAST:
For Adani Group, which wants to strengthen its presence in the East Coast, the taking over of L&T’s container terminal, located within a few kilometers distance from its own project, a container terminal (now in construction phase) at Kamarajar Port (erstwhile Ennore Port), could help to secure calling of vessels (mainline, feeder and coastal) from the day one of its operation.
According to sources, Adani Group, with KICT in its kitty, could project both the terminals as a largest hub for containers in East Coast. Sources say that Adani Group plans to project both the terminals as “Mundra of East Coast.”
It may be noted that Adani Group recently got the Vizhinjam port project in Kerala and in 2014, Adani acquired Dhamra Port in Odisha from Tata Steel and L&T for an estimated Rs 5,500 crore.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Port Wings News Network:
Chennai Port, one of the oldest ports in the country and regarded as the “Gateway of East Coast,” is now at a crossroads. Situated in the Coromandel Coast in South-East India, the Port of Chennai has more than 100 years of tradition.
Activities at the Chennai Port, which was lull for decades, turned hyperactive when the port began handling Coal in 1970s for the use of Tamil Nadu Electricity Board to meet the power requirements of the state.
After the globalization, when the containerized trade started picking up, Chennai Port was the first to have a container terminal and became a true Gateway of East Coast India with facilities for handling containers, breakbulk and liquid bulk cargoes.
Besides, the port has also played its important role in securing energy security for the whole region by facilitating import of crude and coal for a refinery located near Chennai and power plants located elsewhere in the region.
With the containerized trade picking up, CFS have also started flourishing here and now, Chennai Port has more than 30 CFSes to cater to the trade.
THE BEGINNING OF CONGESTION:
Though the port was witnessing boom in its revenue as well as cargo for years, situation has started to change post-2009, as the port started witnessing frequent congestion of container trailers, which has had badly affected the movement of all cargoes.
Situation has become so worse in one point of time during those days and the liners even introduced Chennai Trade Recovery (CTR) for the delays in berthing at the port. However, the port took some drastic measures and convinced the shipping liners to withdraw CTR to maintain the EXIM trade happy.
Since then, congestion has become a regular phenomenon at the Chennai Port and it has deeply impacted on the revenue of the port. With the congestion affecting the trade, many exporters, who move their goods to their regular clients with a commitment on timely delivery, started diverting their cargoes to other ports in the country.
CHENNAI CUSTOMS & CONGESTION:
With the congestion issue refused to die down, EXIM trade here started blaming the Chennai Port management for issue. However, the management, acting on the appeals from the trade, took several corrective measures like streamlining movement of container trailer vehicles inside the port premises, widening of internal roads, opening of more points for entry and exit at main gate.
With such measures, the port management salvaged its name from the issue and asked for cooperation from Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel and the Chennai Customs for speedier movement of containers.
While the CISF authorities worked out new strategies for checking and now it has also been properly streamlined, Chennai Customs, is still unable to place a full-fledged team of officers (for apprising, examining and preventing) at the port premises.
According to sources, the shortage of officers in Customs is the main reason for not able to allocate more in Chennai Port. However, the shortage is taking toll on the efficiency of the Chennai Port.
ROLE OF TERMINALS & CONGESTION:
Chennai Port has two container terminals – Terminal I is DP World’s Chennai Container Terminal Private Limited (CCTL) and Terminal II is PSA International’s Chennai International Container Terminal Private Limited (CITPL).
Terminal I was built in 1983 and privatized in 2001 to CCTL. It is managed by DP World under a 30-year Build Operate Transfer (BOT) agreement with the Chennai Port Trust.
Terminal-II (CITPL )was formed in 2007 as a 60:40 joint venture between Singapore-based PSA International and Chennai-based Sical Logistics Ltd. With the exit of Sical Logistics in 2010, it is now a 100% subsidiary of PSA International. It commenced operations in September 2009.
Poor road connectivity to the port (last mile connectivity) has been often raised by these two terminals as impediment to the growth.However, the trade, which has been blaming the port management for the initial real congestion and the latest artificial congestion, now started pointing fingers on the efficiency of the container terminals.
According to the trade representatives, both the terminals give priority to handling of vessels and it often force the trailers to wait inside the port roads to either discharge export container or picking up an import box. Furthermore, there has been allegation that these terminals maintain the same level congestion to keep on levying different charges on the trade.
ROLE OF POLICE & CONGESTION:
While the internal congestion can be tackled jointly by the managements of port and two terminals, congestion of trailers outside the port premises in the Ennore Expressway is beyond the limit of the port authority.
According to the trade, Chennai Police, under the guise of regulating movement of container-laden trailers on the Ennore Expressway upto Ernavur, often create the artificial congestion. In the process, the police stops movement of container trailers at different stretches and allow them to move in batches, which ultimately lead to congestion near Zero Gate, port’s main entry gate. Eventhough the port management has taken up the matter with the top officials in the Police Department, the issue is still continuing.
LACK OF COORDINATION KILLS EXIM TRADE:
According to a section of EXIM players, early commissioning of the Elevated Expressway would help both the traders of import and export as well as the state government. While seamless movement of cargo round the clock would be ensured with the Elevated Expressway, it will reduce dependency of Ennore Expressway for trailers, thus clearing the road for the full use of motorists and public transports.
So, in the interest of the trade as well as for the brand building of Tamil Nadu state among the international players, who are keeping a close eye on the state to set up their manufacturing plants, the authorities should walk an extra mile to solve the congestion puzzle at one, says the fraternity.
"Congestion completely devastated the lives of CHAs"
Mr K V V Giri,
President, Chennai Custom House Agents Association (CCHAA)
"The congestion, be it real or the artificial one, has completely devastated the lives of Custom House Agents linked to Chennai Customs and Chennai Port.
While exporters or importers can move to other ports and conveniently clear their cargoes there, CHAs who solely depend on EXIM business through Chennai Port for their bread and butter, losing livelihood to the congestion. An immediate solution to the issue would help the trade and in turn, it will bring back smiles on the faces of CHAs."
“We are doing our best to overcome obstacles”
Mr B Vimal, Traffic Manager (i/c), Chennai Port Trust
"Congestion is the real issue and the port management is fully aware of it. Even though our efforts on easing congestion have borne results at times, the issue is lurking again and again. For the last few years, the Chennai Port Trust has been witnessing long haul trailers lined up for miles, sometime upto 20 kms, to get into the two container terminals.
Though the port management is taking several initiatives to make the port free of congestion, due to some external constraints beyond our limit, we are unable to get rid of the issue totally. Though the Chennai Port has 14 gates officially, for movement of cargoes in and out of the port round-the-clock, we have only one gate near Kasimedu.
To overcome the internal congestion, we need more gates to the opened. We appeal to the Government of Tamil Nadu to allow the port management to utilize the gates than can be opened to cater the trade.
It is true that congestion here led to diversion of containers and other commodities to nearby ports. We are doing our best to overcome the obstacles and even plans to monitor the terminals’ productivity to make the trade rely on Chennai Port for their shipments."
Response from DP World (CCTL) Container Terminal:
"DP World Chennai has adopted progressive methods and initiatives such as the 'North Gate Facility' and coastal road diversion after ‘Zero Ingate’ to enhance smooth flow of cargo into Chennai Port. North Gate facility, not only increases operational efficiency by helping ease traffic, but also ensures safety of the drivers."
"There is perennial congestion due to outstation trailers coming into the terminal without documents that are custom cleared following the same queue as a result blocking others. One of the ways to ease the congestion is to direct the trailers coming from factories to come through 32 CFSs outside, so that containers already have cleared custom documents before they reach the terminal."
Response from PSA International (CITPL):
"PSA Chennai (CITPL) feels that in the absence of hassle-free connectivity to the port, the issue of congestion will stay alive. To alleviate the connectivity conundrum, the early completion of EMRIP and Elevated Expressway projects hold the key. These projects, once implemented, will not only the help the port to shed the image of congestion-affected facility, but also help the container terminals to enhance productivity."
"As per information we have, congestion inside the port happens only due to illegal parking of trailers along the already congested roads. If the port authorities monitor and turn back such vehicles near the gate itself, it will reduce internal congestion to a large extent. We suggest placing of Customs officials at the Gate, (boundary of the port) than at the container terminal gates, as it leads to duplication of work as well as delay.
Furthermore, we also appeal to the transporters to send their vehicles with dual job orders. It will drastically reduce movement of vehicles coming into the port either for picking an import box or delivering an export box. Though our terminal has dedicated lanes for import and export vehicles and remains hassle-free throughout the day, congestion inside the port premises affects movements from our terminal."
“Mother Vessel Connectivity to USA and Europe important”
Dr A Sakthivel, President, Tirupur Exporters Association
"The connectivity of Mother Vessels to USA and Europe from Chennai Port is important for saving of time and reduction of transaction charges. Now, we need to move our boxes to either Colombo or Singapore through feeders to get connected to those destinations.
Due to traffic congestion, the trailers are taking 48 hours to reach Chennai sea port from any CFS, which are located in just 15-20 kms from the port. Because of this congestion, the container transportation charges are getting doubled. Swift action is required to widen the roads from all Chennai CFS to Chennai sea port.
Export container offloads immediately inside of the port. But, due to less productivity in CCTL & CITPL, most of the trailers are waiting more than 3 to 4 hours at CCTL & CITPL gates.
All trailers are in queue for multiple vessels in case of any emergency to meet marked vessel at port reaching of vessel is tedious. Port Authority should give priority for express container to connect marked vessel.
At container Entry Gate incase, if a container does not carry marked vessel documents, Customs officer / Port officer may remove the container from the queue. But now they stop this container till to clear documents, until then rest of the containers can’t move further. CCTL & CITPL are not having two separate road, if two separate road are there, then it would be easy to reach the respective terminal to catch the marked vessel. Our request to Chennai Sea Customs is that cargo registration / admission time to be extended from 12 pm to 6 pm on every day.
On the date of cargo arrival to CFS, Exporters require customs clearance on the same date itself to meet cargo handover date but it is not happening on same day and being followed next day.
There is a shortage of customs officers at main customs and CFS. Due to this, customs clearance on the same day is not happening. The US customers like GAP, EXPRESS, etc.., if the handover date exceeds by a day then they ask for Air prepaid or Discount. Cargo shutout document processing takes minimum 5 days at customs and CFS in case of any change in mode (Sea to Air) or routing (Chennai to Mumbai or any other sea port)."
“It is artificial congestion in Chennai Port”
Mr. M. Rafeeque Ahmed, Chairman, Farida Group & Chairman, Council for Leather Export (CLE):
"For Chennai Port, connectivity is the perennial issue and the exim trade has long been raising it in every available forum. The projects like EMRIP (linking the port with northern suburbs and CFSes), and the Elevated Expressway (connecting the port with National Highways on the western side) are still under implementation.
I, personally and through different forums, had taken up the connectivity issues with the ministers and other stakeholders. But nothing has happened so far and the trade is suffering due to the connectivity issue. Without them, there will be an uncertainty and the trade will hesitate to plan cargo movement through Chennai Port.
What we are witnessing in the Chennai Port now a days is the artificial congestion, created by several people including the container terminals. When the exports are down by 20 %, congestion, if at all it was there, should have also come down by 20 %. But the situation is remaining same here and continuation itself proves that it is an artificial one.
What the trade here feels that it is a ploy by the container terminals (who are losing due to fall in exports) to continue levying more charges on the trade under different heads to minimize their financial losses. Ultimately, the trade is suffering.
Both the terminals should be held responsible for the artificial congestion. Until unless these things are sorted out, Chennai port stand to lose the trade."
“Chennai Port is the most expensive port”
Mr A.V. Vijayakumar,
Chairman & Managing Director, Paramount Group
"Connectivity to the Port is the major issue here. Without ensuring seamless connectivity before the trade, the port cannot attract more cargoes. As on date, Chennai Port is the most expensive port in the country. The port management should look on it more seriously as it forces the trade to move to the port, which is economically beneficial to them.
Time has come for the port authority to take bold decision in the interest of trade. Tariffs have to be relooked in the view of the demand from the trade.
Since the Port is mainly focusing on green cargo after the Madras HC banned handling of coal and iron ore few years ago, I feel that the management should focus on handling more and more project cargoes.
While the port is now mainly into handling of containers through its two container terminals, developing closed warehouses and installing necessary equipment inside the port would attract more cargoes.
Besides, benchmarking the efficiency of the port (and its container terminals) and its productivity alone would give a new lease of life for the port.
If the port is able to convert the demands of the trade into actions, opportunities are there for Chennai Port to regain its lost glory."
"port connectivity is the main issue"
Mr R Sugumar, Member of All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) &
President of Tamil Nadu Lorry Owners Federation:
"First of all, port connectivity is the main issue that holding the growth of the historical port of the East Coast. More than two decades ago, a project called Ennore Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP) was envisaged by the various stakeholders to meet the logistics demand of the Chennai Port. After several years of delay, the project saw the light of the day few years ago. But, it remains incomplete even today.
Furthermore, another important project of Elevated Expressway is still in the making and seen as a dream project among the transporters. Only after the completion of these projects, connectivity to the port will be ensured. And till then, it will be a nightmare for all of us transporters.
For the time being, if the port accepts our proposal it could come out of the outside congestion. The port has huge tracts of unutilized land inside the port premises. We need only 40-50 acres for parking. If the Port management allots such space for transporters, it could ease out outside congestion. It will help all the port-bound vehicles, which are forced to halt on the road outside the port limit, to get inside and parked at the spot. Such action will keep the main roads free and help the public transport and motorists move freely.
Tamil Nadu Government also has the moral responsibility to support the port’s growth. In my view, both the Container Terminals inside the port must improve their productivity. Due to the artificial congestion, most of the trade had migrated to the other ports in the region. If the port does not take any steps now, it would turn into museum for sure in the next few years. "
“Congestion is the real issue”
Mr Chozha Naachiar Rajasekar, Trustee, Chennai Port Trust
"There is no dispute in the fact that the lack of connectivity is hampering growth in Chennai Port for years. Keeping in mind, the port management along with other stakeholders had planned two connectivity projects to overcome the obstacles in logistics. While the first project EMRIP progressed well initially, now it got stuck due to various issues and it is affecting the trade very badly.
The second project, a dedicated Elevated Expressway connecting the port with Maduravoyal, is also stuck for years. Because of these delays and vehicle restrictions imposed on the Chennai Port by the state government, efficiency of the port is now down to less than 50 %, which is not at all acceptable to the trade.
If the Elevated Expressway projects gets completed and inaugurated for the trade, it will not only provide a dedicated 24-hr lane for the port, also enhance the efficiency by 100 % thus making the Chennai Port one of the busiest ports in the country. There has been also an allegation that both the terminals are not fully utilizing their capacity and their acts aid to congestion.
Land has been a big issue here as the port is surrounded by Chennai city. Since the port need more land, I suggest the port management to go for reclamation from seafront. To overcome the internal congestion, it would be apt if the port goes for an elevated roads inside the premises."
“Unable to determine the arrival of the containers”
Mr C Johnson, Managing Director of Fumigation Services,
"The congestion at Chennai port is increasing day by day which affects all the port users to a great extent. Exporters and other service providers are unable to determine the arrival of the containers for a scheduled vessel."
“Procedural lacunas affect Chennai Port’s future”
-A Well-wisher of Chennai Port
"First and foremost that is lacking is the holistic picture devoid of any vested interests. Protection of ones own turf at the cost of stagnating growth and diverting volumes to neighbouring locations is a myopic attitude which Chennai Exim related bodies have mastered. What I feel is with better discipline among various stakeholders and a reconciliatory approach, even with the limitations of infrastructure, Chennai could grow far better.
Lack of proper vision or foresight among stakeholders becomes speed governors that retards to the pace of growth of economy in the region. Each stakeholder prefers entire focus on their concerns with complete disregard to other interests. Though the last mile connectivity to port project which was in incubation for almost a decade was revived and has progressed fairly well in the last few years, it is yet to address certain crucial bottlenecks in the proximity of the port.
Procedural lacunas – be it Customs, Custodian or Carrier adds to the complexity. Despite the EDI connectivity many of the manual procedures are only converted to electronic media and there is no innovative system-driven solution.
Age-old practice of physical verification of documents continue to slowdown free flow and create congestion. In my view, there could be a re-engineering study undertaken to modify or delete unproductive steps taken by the port management. Such study could be with the involvement of all stakeholders.
Unique to the country only Chennai has the distinction of having a comprehensive trade body – Chennai Trade Coordination Committee – with representation from all stakeholders. Unfortunately, this has become dormant in the recent time. To check diversion of cargo, if all stakeholders can re-look at the larger picture and start acting coherently, then Chennai can easily regain their prime place as the southern maritime gateway of the country."