Indian port authorities are following the shipping companies’ requests for tariff rationalization

High port dues and a one-sided tariff policy have been a major concern for container lines serving Indian trade, but thanks to industry resistance there seems to have been some easing.

Sunil Vaswani, Managing Director of the Container Shipping Lines Association (CSLA), said: “While shipping companies increased capacity and expanded their services to support Indian trade, there have been some positive developments.”

He said the numerous tariffs that had hampered container shipping to the east coast gateway Visakhapatnam had been eased, with a general tariff increase from late May revised from 30% to 20%.

And he added that the Port Authority has agreed to abolish the “priority berth rent” customarily charged on container ships, regardless of window visits. In general, such fees apply to ships wishing to dock outside of their allotted windows.

Visakhapatnam has also drastically lowered the required deposit for each port of call, Mr Vaswani said.

According to the data, Visakha Container Terminal (VCTPL) has seen steady growth in carton movements in recent months, hitting a new monthly high of around 63,500 teu in June, up from 48,500 teu a year ago.

However, the CSLA believes that more needs to be done to bring Indian ports on par with their global peers and fuel container trade growth as shipping lines expand their network reach from emerging markets. It states that there are large price differentials in ship/cargo tariffs that Indian ports have to deal with in order to better compete for more direct ship calls.

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