Port Wings News Network:
Exporters from the Tirupur region have assured sustained cargo support to Chennai Port if they port management evolves a conducive atmosphere for seamless movement of goods from Tirupur to Chennai.
Addressing the trade meet organised by the Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) with an aim to draw the Tirupur knitwear exporters to use the Port at Tirupur on Feb 19, Dr A Sakthivel, President of Tirupur Exporters Association (TEA), said, “The exporters here are ready to use Chennai Port in future if the port management understands the constraints of local exporters and fine tune the process accordingly.”
Dr Sakthivel stated: “For years, exporters from the region were using Chennai Port alone for their shipments. Few years ago, when the Port started facing huge congestion, majority of them started moving to other ports like Tuticorin and Cochin. Of the total exports from Tirupur, about 70 % is done through VOC Port, Tuticorin. Local exporters started relying on VOC Port of late, as it is just 6-8 hours drive from here. Besides, the port management is also flexible in accepting containers even in the eleventh hour for immediate shipment.”
“The only problem we face at VOC Port is the mainline vessel connectivity. If the Inland Container Depot (ICD) connectivity from Tirupur directly to the Chennai Port is made possible, exporters could think of sending more shipments through Chennai,” Dr Sakthivel added.
Coming down heavily on the Chennai Port’s gate cut-off concept, where containers have to be delivered in the port three days ahead of actual shipment, Dr Sakthivel said, “In the time of global stiff competition in knitwear segment, sending the cargo for shipment more than a week earlier is not only impossible, but also not economically viable to the trade which thrives on thin profit margin.”
“So, my request to the port management is to remove such barriers to attract knitwear shipments from Tirupur. The port could rightaway attract more shipments from the region if they introduce direct vessel service to USA, as our country’s majority of knitwear exports goes there. If such vessel service begins from Chennai, traders from Tirupur could save 4-5 days (spent on transshipment), which is huge in today’s competition,” Dr Sakthivel added.
Reacting to the plain demands from the Tirupur exporters, Mr I. Jeyakumar, Deputy Chairman of Chennai Port Trust, assured that the port management would study all the available options to attract exports from the region.
“We are going to introduce radio frequency ID for containers and trucks and also planning a few other initiatives, to bring down the transportation time of the boxes to the vessels,” said Mr Jeyakumar.
He also said that steps would be taken in consultation with shipping lines and container terminal operators to introduce mother vessels to the United States.
“At present, 11 mother vessels are calling on Chennai Port of which three are Europe-bound ones,” he pointed out.
Mr Jeyakumar also announced that the port would start a toll free number shortly to address the grievances of port users under a single window system.
Besides others, Mr. M.P.Muthurathinam – President, Tirupur Exporters And Manufacturers Association (TEAMA), Mr K Senthilraj, Sub-Collector, Tirupur, Mr Dileep T Abraham, President, Coimbatore Custom House and Steamer Agents Association (CHAASAAC) and Mr. N. Sreekumar, Chief General Manager, Container Corporation of India Ltd, Chennai, spoke.