Mangaluru, Nov 4,2016: Reports prove that the trade and industries body of Mangaluru has opposed the idea by NMPT, New Mangalore Port Trust, to hand over the only deep-draught general dry cargo berth in the Port to a private partner, the Trust has claimed that PPP would bring in more vessels thereby increasing the business in the region.
The KCCI, Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the proposal has come as a shock to the trading community. Chamber president Jeevan Saldanha stated that they were surprised to hear the proposal in the recently held Tariff Authority for Major Ports meeting in Mangaluru.
KCCI’s Saldanha noted that Berth No. 8, which is being renamed as No. 14, is the only general berth with a draught of 14 m. The trading community in Mangaluru has improved the business in this berth and the occupancy has now reached 90 per cent. Handing over such a berth to a private partner would severely affect people from different fields –stevedores (labourers), commission and forwarding agents, steamer agents, and more.
There is no rationale to hand it over to private partner naming it an exclusive container berth, he said. Container vessels normally would have draught less than 10 m and hence NMPT could assign other berths to PPP. Otherwise, it could construct a new berth for the container traffic to be given for PPP.
NMPT Chairman P.C. Parida however said the trade body might not have complete information about the proposal. The private partner only operates the berth and brings in more vessels thereby increasing the business. Steamer agents and C&F agents would continue to work as usual. Though stevedores may not get work here, there are eight other berths for work, he said.
Rejecting the KCCI’s claim that the berth had 90 per cent occupancy, NMPT’s Parida said it was just 45 per cent. PPP is the government policy and one has to look at increasing efficiency. Two representatives of the Chamber are on the NMPT Board and it cannot say members were kept in the dark. The proposal is bound to benefit the Port as well as the business community by improving the business, though a handful of parties might be side lined.