Operating costs for vessels calling at India’s Port of Mumbai will go up substantially mid-December following a tariff increase decision by the Tariff Authority for Major Ports, the country’s port regulator.
The revised rate scale, effective Dec. 21 through March 31, 2014, calls for a 30 percent hike in cargo-related charges and a 23 percent in marine dues. Cargo-related charges cover stevedoring, wharfage and demurrage, while marine dues include berth hire and pilotage fees.
“The estimated financial position at the existing level of tariff for the port as a whole shows an aggregate deficit of $300 million for the three years in consideration. Therefore, there is a case for upward revision in existing rates at the Mumbai Port,” TAMP said.
The port authority in its application sought a flat 30 percent hike in port dues as part of a general tariff review, but the move spurred vigorous protests from users under the aegis of the Mumbai-Nhava Sheva Ship Agents’ Association.
“If the tariff scale at Mumbai Port is to be revised without going into its cost factors, then there will be heavy additional burden on ship owners/their agents, and there is every likelihood of the trade getting shifted elsewhere where operational costs to vessels, along with productivity and turn-round, will be much better,” the agents said. The association represents the entire ship agents’ community at the ports of Mumbai and Nhava Sheva (Jawaharlal Nehru).
While Mumbai remains a major gateway for general cargo, its container traffic has suffered sharp declines in recent years due mainly to inadequate infrastructure and shallow draft, and the management is hoping that a $300 million offshore container terminal being built with private participation will help it woo more mainline calls. Mumbai’s box volume for the April-October period, the first seven months of fiscal 2011-12, dropped to 36,000 20-foot equivalent units from 44,000 TEUs a year earlier.