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JNPT terminal operators spar over cost

A turf war between private terminal operators at JNPT, which was likely to disrupt operations at India’s biggest container port, seems to have ended.

This follows a meeting JNPT management had with all terminal operators to sort out the contentious issues.

“The operational issues have been resolved and there is limited financial issue that needs to be sorted out,” said Neeraj Bansal, Acting Chairman, JNPT, over phone. “And, I have asked the terminals [operators] to work it out amicably shortly,” he added.

Following the commencement of services by PSA’s Bharat Mumbai Container Terminal Pvt Ltd (BMCT), the new terminal at JNPT, the incumbent three terminal operators (APM Terminals that operates GTI, DP World and JNPT, which has it’s own terminal) objected to the handling of containers booked for BMCT in mixed rakes without charging a cost. All containers land at GTI and are then distributed to terminals. All three of them share the cost and there had been no issues.

Extra cost

However, since BMCT is located at a distance, extra cost was sought. According to port officials, the incumbents were trying to create road block for the new terminal which is efficient and is likely to win cargo from the other operators.

In a letter to JNPT management, BMCT said, “GTI is trying to collect illegal extra charges on any container destined for BMCT. These illegal extra charges are not levied on containers meant for any other terminal at JNPT except BMCT.”

Telephone calls made to GTI’s chief operating officer Ravi Gaitonde remained unanswered.

The issue was raised because the extra distance transfer would add to the cost of the incumbent terminals. The hardening of stance by these terminals created apprehension of a deadlock. Anticipating disruption in the operations on the likelihood of ‘conflict’ between the terminals escalating, Mumbai and Nhava Sheva Ship Agents Association (MANSA), in a letter to JNPT chairman, said the issue needed urgent attention for resolution.

“Advisory issued by other container terminals give rise to some conflicts between the terminals.

“Hence our members approach you to intervene and initiate action to rectify disruption in operations,” MANSA said.

“APM had advised all Container Train Operators (CTOs) to refrain from bringing rakes with mix of BMCT and GTI-bound containers on trains and GTI will not accept any responsibility on this account,” it added.

“The customary advisory issued by DP World is also found to be on the same lines, it added.
Source: The Hindu

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