The Indian government has approved the allocation of 274 acres of land owned by the Port of Nhava Sheva (Jawaharlal Nehru) for the purpose of settling compensation packages for “project-affected persons,” averting work stoppages like one that shut down the cargo terminals in March for four days.
“This decision will settle, once and for all, the long-standing demand of project-affected persons pending for the past 27 years and give such persons, who had to give their land for the portproject, a share in the benefits of the project,” the Shipping Ministry said in a release on Friday. “The settlement of rehabilitation issue will enable smooth development and operation of the port.”
The port administration was under intense pressure to resolve the impasse after local labor and political groups upset over delays in settlement recently threatened to relaunch their shutdown protest. According to industry estimates, the four-day stoppage in March cost the port authority over $30 million in lost business.
Officials said the dispute centered on about 2,890 acres of private land state authorities had acquired for constructing the port project, which began operations in 1989. “Reaching an amicable settlement has been a painstakingly slow process given the nature of the issue,” a port official said.
Nhava Sheva Port handles more than 60 percent of India’s total containerized traffic. Volume in fiscal 2011-12, which ended March 31, totaled a record 4.32 million 20-foot-equivalent units.
In related news, container trailer operators serving Nhava Sheva have threatened to suspend operations effective Aug. 28 if stakeholders do not agree to a hike in hauling rates.
“The planned stoppage is to emphasize huge losses incurred by trailer companies due to increased operating costs covering fuel, manpower, vehicle maintenance, spares etc.,” the trailer group said.
The group also said it has decided to move one container unit per trailer in light of deteriorating infrastructure at the port.