Meeting discusses measures to tackle congestion in future

Beginning Wednesday, major shipping lines and feeder operators have decided to withdraw the Chennai Trade Recovery (CTR) levied on the Exim trade at the Chennai Port, according to port users.

An announcement to this effect was made by the representatives of shipping lines at a meeting held by the Chief Commissioner of Customs (Chennai Zone) Mala Srivatsav on Tuesday.

Talking to The Hindu, a Customs official said that the meeting was held as per the directive of the Madras High Court to seek information from all the stakeholders about the congestion issue, levy of CTR and rationale behind it, status of Ennore-Manali road and Tiruvottiyur parking yard among others.

“Even before the commencement of the meeting, the shipping lines had decided to withdraw the CTR. However, they made an announcement today. We also discussed how to tackle the congestion issue in the future,” she said.

According to trade, CTR was levied on the exporters and importers of Chennai Port by shipping lines and feeder operators since August 15, 2011, citing congestion on Ennore-Manali stretch that led to delay in clearing containers, turnaround of vessels and change in delivery schedule.

Mentioning CTR as local levy, the shipping lines representative told The Hindu that they would continue to levy until Chennai Port Trust opened one more gate on 24-hour basis, increased the number of lanes at zero gate from two to three in each direction, return to berthing window and normal port stay of 36 hours.

Even though the congestion issue was solved within two months, shipping lines and feeder operators continued to levy CTR and thereby irking Exim trade. During November, Chennai Port Trust urged the shipping lines to immediately withdraw CTR, and also to refund it to trade. However, it failed to yield the desired result.

Irked by the delay, the representatives of Confederation of Indian Industry, Federation of Indian Export Organisations, Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry took up the issue with the Shipping Ministry, Commerce Ministry and the Directorate of Shipping. As the shipping lines failed to spell out the rationale behind the continuous levy of CTR, a few traders approached the Madras High Court for relief.

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