MPT, govt must boost container handling to boost business: GSIA

Says stoppage of 29-yr container feeder service will affect industries

THE GOAN NETWORK | JULY 31, 2021, 11:55 PM IST

The Goa State Industries Association has said the State government and Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) must look at container business in the long term to expand the logistical base and to support industries in the State.

Responding to concerns over the likely discontinuation of container line feeder services at MPT from August 3, GSIA President Damodar Kochkar said this 29-year-old feeder service would be a major problem and would affect many industries in Verna.

Situation at MPT

“We are being informed the MPT does not have proper infrastructure facility to load and unload containers and this is one of the main reasons for the sudden stoppage of the service,” said Kochkar.

“The MPT crane takes a lot of time and this is an issue for ship owners. While containers are cleared in quick time at other ports, it sometimes takes over two days to clear cargo from a container ship at MPT.”

“Besides adding to berth hire costs, added time at MPT can delay cargo along the further route of the ship. This added time at Goa port causes further losses to shipowners. The ship comes from Colombo and caters to Cochin, Mangalore, Goa, Mumbai and Mundra ports,” said Kochkar.

He said the Mumbai port has cranes loading on racks system and ships are cleared faster than in Goa.

“There was only one company offering this container service but they want to stop and it will have a major impact on parties bringing containers to Goa,” said Kochkar.

“It appears to be a chicken-or-egg story because MPT may not want to invest in a dedicated berth for container ship as there is not much volume and the industry will not want to use the service as it is not frequent and ship owners/operators may skip Goa port as it lacks infrastructure. It is only after facilities are created, that the people may want to come to Goa,” said Kochkar.

Business potential 

Kochkar said pharmaceuticals companies handle containers from JNPT Port, Mumbai, by road.

“Pharma companies cannot depend on ship services which arrive once in 10 days because there are 3-4 container movements per day per unit and they need frequent service.”

“These companies can benefit if the MPT can begin a regular container service by ensuring one dedicated berth for container ships with good infrastructures to handle containers. This will increase the logistics base for industries in Goa on a long term.”

Stating that some companies are looking forward to use the new railway container hub terminal set up by South Western Railways at Balli Station, Kochkar said the GSIA is trying to request 

authorities to start the container terminal hub at Balli station and expedite the clearance process.

“The Balli terminal hub is presently operating like a bonded warehouse and this will handle containers by rail between Goa and Mumbai. Containers can then be shipped from Mumbai port because there are many container ships calling at Mumbai port,” said Kochkar.

“The MPT must have a dedicated container terminal berth with proper infrastructure to handle containers if it wants to look at business for the long term,” said Kochkar.

Share this