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TAMP Amendment, Merchant Shipping Act to be tabled in Winter session


The Ministry of Shipping is planning to introduce two major Bills during the upcoming winter session of Parliament. One is related to Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) Amendment and the other, to the new Merchant Shipping Act.

Speaking at the Regional Editors Conference, organised by Press Information Bureau, Rajive Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping said that the Ministry is planning to upgrade the provisions as far policy concerned.

"Two major initiatives which we intend to introduce in the coming session of Parliament during winter. One is Major Ports Authorities Act, which will revamp the major ports. The second is completely new Merchant Shipping Act, which governs all the merchant shipping activities in the country".

As per Major Port Trust Act, 1963, Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) is mandated to regulate port tariffs, user charges and scale of rates in major ports. However, non-major ports, which are under the overall jurisdiction of the respective state governments, are not bound by any such regulation.

At the time of constitution of TAMP in 1997, when PPP were in their nascent stage, it was intended to ensure fair competition and level playing field between port owned award berths/ terminals etc., and privately operated ones.

However, with the passage of time and maturing of PPPs and also the and the advent of highly competitive non-major ports, the existing regulatory regime has severely constrained the growth of the major ports. The capacity utilisation of berths in major ports have come down to around 67.70 per cent.

As such, it was felt that the steps to deregulate the tariff regime would help to correct the mismatches in the berth capacities and present requirements for some commodities. This will also create a level playing field between major and non-major ports.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Shipping has proposed to amend the Major Port Tursts Act so as to abolish TAMP and do away with the tariff regulation in the major ports.

After abolition of TAMP, the major Port Trusts would determine and notify the tariff for the services rendered by them and scale of rates for assets and utilities and tariff for ports owned berths.

As far as PPP berths are concerned, the Port Trust Boards would fix reference tariff proposal would also help the shipping lines and eventually benefit the ultimate users. This would result in building efficiency, faster turnaround of ships and quicker handling of cargo.

Enayam Port

Defending the Centre's decision to set up a Rs 27,000 crore project at Enayam in Kanyakumari district, Kumar said that at present, trans-shipment cargo is around 2.5 million TEUs in the country and this is expected to go up to 10 million TEUs in the next 10 years.

The trans-shipment terminal including Vizhinjam, around 25 km from Enayam, in Kerala will not able to handle the growth and capacity cannot be expanded beyond a point to cater the future demand. Sri Lanka is adding one more terminal in Colombo, a new greenfield port also came up in the recent times.

"When they (Sri Lanka) are adding why shouldn't we," he questioned.

It may be noted, ever since the project was announced by the BJP Government at the centre there were discussion about the viability of the project considering atleast three ports are in less than a 100-km radius.

Responding to the locals fears that they will loose their livelihood and houses, Kumar said the proposed mega transshipment port planned at Enayam will be built on reclaimed land and not major land acquisition would be needed except for road connectivity.

Kumar said there will be no major land acquisition for the port except for the road connectivity.

He also said the government is taking measures to double the overall capacity of the ports -- public and private -- to 3,000 million tonnes per annum by 2025.

Source: Business Standard 

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