Freedom from regulatory regime sought for better price parity

Major ports have stepped up their campaign for abolition of Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) regime for a level-playing field to compete with fast expanding non-major ports.

Though the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Shipping in 2013 brought relief to some extent among new private investors in major ports giving them flexibility to raise tariff based on efficiency parameters, sources in the industry told The Hindu that lobbying by investors in non-major ports, popularly known as minor ports, has been delaying disbanding of TAMP regime.

Guidelines

In the guidelines issued in 2013, the government introduced tariff linked to performance and the freedom to raise tariff by 15 per cent subject to satisfaction by the regulator.

Presently, minor ports, which have major mission to handle higher volume of traffic with greater speed and efficiency, are at liberty to fix their own tariff. They also come under the State governments.

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture Chairman Sitaram Yechury had recommended the government to review TAMP regime to ensure level-playing field for major and minor ports.

The minor ports, which are on massive expansion mode, are giving sleepless nights to the major ports by snatching away major slice of their traffic.

Price parity

National Shipping Board Chairman Capt. P.V.K. Mohan indicated during a recent visit to the city that in their next meeting, they might take up the demand by major ports for freeing them from regulatory regime for better price parity.

There are 12 major ports including Ennore, a corporate port registered under Companies Act.

The number of minor ports is put at 187, most of them in Gujarat. Presently, major ports account for 58 per cent of total cargo, while minor ports are handling 42 per cent. In 2000-01, minor ports handled just 10 per cent, said T. Narendra Rao, general secretary of Water Transport Workers’ Federation of India.

As per Maritime Agenda-2020, major ports need an investment of Rs.1,09,449 crore, of which Rs.72,878 crore is from BOT operators. On the other hand, the minor ports are expected to invest Rs.1,67,930 crore to create additional capacity of 1,293 million tonne.

“Going by the projections, in next 10 to 15 years minor ports will have a lion’s share,” Mr. Rao said. Though the ministry was convinced with the demand by major ports, lobbying by minor port managements had stalled a favourable decision to free major ports from the shackles of regulator, he alleged.

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