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EXIM trade hit by logjam at Kattupalli port


The movement of containers into and out of Kattupalli port has been hit by delays, forcing trade to seek intervention from the Customs Department to ease the situation.

The “abnormal delay’ in the movement of container-laden vehicles at Kattupalli port has been attributed to the long queue waiting to offload export boxes into, and delay in evacuation of import containers from, the port, according to trade bodies.

The shortage of rubber tyred gantry (RTG) equipment operators at the terminal to cater to export and import containers has been cited as the major reason for the delays.

“This has severely impacted EXIM trade as vehicles have been stranded at various places and are also unable to move within the port itself,” R N Sekar, Secretary, Chennai Customs Brokers’ Association, wrote in a December 4 advisory to members.

Though export containers are moved into the terminal to meet the vessel loading schedule, last-minute cancellation of ships and delayed berthing of vessels due to cyclone has led to the accumulation of export containers, further adding to congestion at the port.

Continuous heavy rains since last week has also affected port operations, Sekar wrote to Association members, adding that the management of Kattupalli port “has not taken the matter effectively and most of the enquiries have remained unattended”.

The Chennai Customs Brokers’ Association, according to Sekar, has urged Chennai Customs to intervene as many import containers are incurring ground rent and the delay in evacuation of containers has hurt the turn around time of trucks and increased trucking costs.

Vehicle turn around has been severely compromised because of delay in handling inside Kattupalli port and it has cascaded into a long road-queue of tractor trailers waiting to offload export containers into the port, Captain Avnash Iyer, Chairman, National Association of Container Freight Stations, Chennai Chapter, wrote in a December 4 advisory to members.

“Trucks which ideally should complete the return trip in six hours are now taking upwards of 39 hours for the same trip and this will consequently have an impact in service levels to the EXIM trade,” Iyer wrote.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

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