The month-long issue of cranes that had stopped working, affecting the movement of cargo from vessels not equipped with cranes at the New Mangalore Port has been resolved, said Mohammed Ameen, vice-president, Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Mr Ameen was speaking at a press conference called by KCCI to address certain issues here on Tuesday.

S. Gopalakrishna, Traffic Manager, NMPT, said the issue was sorted out on Tuesday morning and the cranes started moving the cargo the same afternoon. Instead of three cranes, only two cranes would be used as the cargo quantity had reduced, he said. The rate would be the same and there was no relaxation in the terms and conditions set between the crane suppliers and the port authorities. However, while earlier an annual fee was charged, the charges would be according to a pro-rata basis and would be prospective instead of retrospective, he said.

Mr. Gopalakrishna said that each crane handled about 4,000 to 5,000 tonnes of cargo per shift. In a day, there were three shifts. About 10 per cent of the cargo handled at the port was moved by the cranes. Gearless vessels used the harbour mobile cranes as they did not have cranes aboard.

A letter from M. Shekhar Pujari, president, Association of New Mangalore Port Stevedores, said the contract between the port and the operators of the three HMCs should be given “a relook in the light of their offer to renew operations under different terms proposed by them”.

The three HMCs were fulfilling an essential need at the port in the absence of wharf cranes. The port's own wharf cranes at berths 2, 3, and 4 were scrapped, the letter said. The export-import trade at the port had no other alternative but to convince the three HMC operators to continue to work at this port as no other reliable port equipment or cranes were in place. The present quantum of gearless vessel and additional cargo had only been possible because of the existence of these HM cranes. The NMP brochure mentioned the availability of three cranes at berth numbers 5, 6, 7, and 14, based on which, ships (gearless and otherwise) were nominated to this port, said the letter.