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India: Exporters’ forum seeks waiver of charge for ship crew change

The exporters’ forum members in the city have called upon the Ministry of Ports to waive the ₹3 lakh deposit sought by the Kerala Maritime Board to facilitate crew change of international ships. They also took up the issue with Minister for Ports Kadannappally Ramachandran when he visited the Beypore port for flagging off the new tug, Dhwani, on Thursday.

A functionary of the exporters’ forum said such a hefty charge for securing the No Objection Certificate for the purpose was unheard of in the country and it was reportedly set by the Directorate General of Shipping. He said that such rules would put off the spirit of willing international vessel operators who had previously expressed interest in crew conducting change here.

A leader of the Calicut Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the international ship operators from Suez and Persian Gulf had already been sent invitations for starting crew change at Beypore. The strange rules might dissuade them from trying it, he said.

The exporters’ forum also called for more efforts on the part of the State government to promote the movement of cargo through seaports. They said that the cargo of handloom from Kannur and spices from Wayanad and perishables from Coorg, and footwear from Kozhikode were mostly shipped to the port by road using trailer trucks and the exporters had to pay ₹18,000 to ₹20,000 for this.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ramachandran told the forum leaders that the possibilities of starting a vessel service between Kozhikode and Mangaluru was under consideration. The task was with the Kerala Shipping and Inland navigation Corporation, he said.

During the discussions, the Minister also reviewed the scope of introducing other basic infrastructure apart from the Electronic Data Interface clearance facility that is required for speedy customs examination of the cargo. The possibility of opening a separate space for immigration and a port health office with better infrastructure were also discussed for the smooth functioning of international transshipment.
Source: The Hindu

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