Members of the export-import fraternity have urged the Visakhapatnam Port Authority (VPA) management to do away with a charge that it says is unnecessary and non-existent across other ports in India.
Bringing up the issue at a recent open house trade meet organized by FAPCCI and VPA trade members pointed out to the port management that the priority berthing charges implied by the port is an additional cost to them and increases their logistics costs.
As per the VCLA (Visakhapatnam container lines association) container vessels have a pre-defined berthing window / slots at different ports not only in India but all across the international waters in their respective routings and hence are bound to meet these window period for facilitating smooth operation. Therefore, it is a global practice for the ports to extend priority berthing and sailing without any additional charges.
‘It is an unnecessary cost to the liners which can be easily forgone by the port management once a decision has been taken. Waiving of this charge will encourage new liners to come to VPA while overall benefiting trade’ said VCLA’s president Mr Jeevan Vikas V speaking to Vizag Industrial Scan.
The Visakhapatnam Container Lines Association (VCLA) has already written two letters to the VPA management asking for its waiver. We would like to humbly put forward our concern that not only across global ports but even across India no other port authorities or container terminals are levying priority berthing charges except VPA. This in turn is increasing the vessel handling cost for exports and imports subsequently passing these additional charges into costing’ said the letter addressed to VPA authorities.
It was further informed that container vessels are also extended preferential berthing and sailing so as to ensure the dedicated berths are timely and fully utilized.
The VCLA letter also cited growing competition in the vicinity to be a reason for VPA to become more cost competitive. The priority berthing charges are increasing the vessel handling cost for exports and imports subsequently increasing the cost of container vessel handling at Visakhapatnam Port, thereby negatively affecting container volumes by vessel operators and lines said the letter.Mr Jeevan however informed that the port authorities are considering their request of waiving the charge and hoped for a favorable decision soon on this. VPA had recently registered a 15% growth in its Cargo handling volumes for the first two quarters of the current fiscal i.e. April – September 2022.