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TIN news:    The joint hearing of Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) to be held here on increasing the scale of rates is likely to be a stormy one.
The shipping industry has opposed the move, saying it would make Kochi one of the costliest ports in the country, with existing rates already being on the higher side.
‘Wrong signal’
At a time when the port is making efforts to attract both cargo and ships, sources in the trade said, the proposal to enhance the rates of various cargoes would send a negative signal to the international shipping community and make the services offered in Kochi uncompetitive.
It is pointed out that the port had proposed an overall increase of 20-30 per cent in the existing rates of various bulk and break-bulk cargoes and even container handling charges at ICTT, Vallarpadam. It is mandatory for major ports in the country to submit a proposal to the TAMP once in three years.
Management stand
The port management was of the view that there was no tariff increase since 2013 and the existing rates had to be enhanced to remain competitive. The port is in the process of submission of proposal for revision of scale of rates in accordance with the new tariff policy.
Compared with other South Indian ports, the shipping circles said, the vessel-related charges in Kochi are more than double and this has forced the port management to offer concessions or rebates to attract vessels. Any further increase and later offering discounts will create confusion among shipping lines and make Kochi an unfavourable destination for carriers.
Chamber’s plea
Meanwhile, the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry has made a representation to TAMP against the port’s decision to hike the lease rentals on Willingdon Island as they are already on the higher side. Delay in renewal of leases and the high lease rentals have resulted in a sense of uncertainty among the leaseholders.
There is no justification for any increase in the lease rent given the prevailing ground realities on the Island. With the development of ICTT, the core business of the port has shifted from Willingdon Island to Vallarpadam and the businesses of leaseholders on the Island have reduced considerably, the Chamber said.

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