Concerned over declining profit margins of 12 major ports, the government has taken a number of steps, including special VRS drives, to reduce surplus manpower, Lok Sabha was informed.

Profit of major ports declined by about 30 per cent to Rs 1,220.61 crore in 2012-13 over the previous fiscal, Shipping Minister G K Vasan said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

The government has initiated a number of steps to reduce the losses which include “special voluntary retirement schemes to reduce surplus manpower, construction of new berths and terminals to enhance port capacity, modernising berths with state of the art loading/unloading equipment to improve operational efficiency and initiatives by ports to attract more cargo and increase throughput,” he said.

Of the 12 major ports - Kolkata, Paradip, Visakhapatnam, Ennore, Chennai, VO Chidambaranar, Cochin, New Mangalore, Mormugao, Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru and Kandla, four ports had reported losses in the last fiscal.

These include Rs 298 crore, Rs 278 crore, Rs 94 crore and Rs 65 crore losses incurred by Kolkata, Mumbai, Mormugao and Cochin ports respectively in 2012-13 over the previous fiscal.

“The reason for incurring loss by Kolkata Port Trust is fall in cargo traffic by 3.31 million tonnes. In Cochin Port, the loss during the last three years is attributable to increase in maintenance dredging cost, payment of salary and in Mormugao port, the loss is due to ban on iron ore mining and export in Goa...,” Mr. Vasan said.

The Mumbai Port incurred loss due to contributing large sums towards superannuation funds in addition to actual pension payments given the huge past pension liabilities, he added.

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