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Declare Gulf of Kutch in IV Limit for the Promotion of Coastal Trade : Barge Owners Association of Gujarat

For the much-needed ease of trade, Mr. Jitendra Lal, President-Barge Owners Association of Gujarat, and Mr. Sanjay Chauhan, Managing Director, Barbados Maritime Agencies Pvt Ltd, India have submitted a letter with an official request to Shri Mansukhbhai Mandavia, Minister of Shipping (state), to declare the entire Gulf of Kutch region as IV Limit only. The submission of this request was followed by a verbal submission to declare the Gulf of Kutch as sole I.V. Limit during a personal meeting with Shri Mansukhbhai Mandavia on 03th July’2018 at Transport Bhavan, New Delhi.

Following is an excerpt from the letter, forming the base for this request:

Gulf of Kutch is naturally protected area with gateway between Jakhau and Okha port and besides the same all other ports located inside the Gulf of Kutch are all weather ports and naturally sheltered only also all ports working around the year 365 days and also all port are very close to each other between 20 to 50 nautical miles distance only.

The international base line is outside the limit between Jakhau and Okha port only.

Also note that to avail the single voyage permission as per the MS Notice no. 3 which  requires a long process about 3 to 4 days and it causes a huge time loss and is expensive too, for such a small distance voyage from 3 hours to 12 hours navigations only, however to ply inside the Gulf of Kutch region since looking to the maximum ships loading / unloading operation at all minor ports anchorage area of Gulf of Kutch only. 

The letter submitted states numerous reasons for need of the declaration of the entire Gulf of Kutch region as IV Limit only; to save the time, to save the demurrage of the foreign ships, to save the national foreign exchange, to save the extra expenses and to ultimately save affection of the inflation since its increase to the cost of the import / export cargo.

In regard to port clearance issued by the customs for IV Craft and coastal vessels, since at present what they are issuing is itself not a port clearance, but they are issuing the exempted notification on the customs letter head stating below and which is not require to issue each time by the way of port clearance: 

 “As per the government of Indian notification no. 43/97 customs ( N.T.) dated 11.09.97 and ministry of finance (dept of revenue) circular No. 40/97 dated 19.09.97 exclusively coastal vessel carrying exclusively coastal goods are exempted from the section 92, 93,94,97 and 8 (1) of customs act, 1962”  

In spite of the above already being in force, they are issuing the same on the name of port clearance to the coastal / I.V barge / Tugs / Cranes etc. In view of that, the board has requested to take up this request to the ministry of finance / CBITC Board or do the need full to implement the above notification in favour / develop of the coastal trade / I.V Tugs / barges etc only. 

Based on the information above, the request contains the following suggestions:  

We would like to suggest that we will submit the one intimation / information letter stating details of the craft / barge / tug / cranes also details of the crew on board the every craft / barges etc to the port authority and customs prior sailing or arriving to the any port of Gulf of Kutch region to comply the safety / security while moving from one port to another port inside the Gulf of Kutch region only.

As regards to improve the Coastal trade specially inside the Gulf of Kutch region we would like to suggest that if it is allow to the all IV Barges to run / move / ply as loaded from one port to another port inside the Gulf of Kutch by the way of 80 percent loading out of total capacity of barges and cargo hold / hatched will be proper covered by the tarpaulins and ropes than same will be very much help full to speedy movement of the cargo from one port to another inside the Gulf of Kutch region and also this will be help to save fuel, time and cost and also to control the road traffics too.

Source: Kavita Mishra / TST Newsdesk

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