T. Madhusudana Rao
Lack of godown space, barges upset targets
30,000 tonnes of rice bran extraction lying in the open Timely allotment of steel barges and workers essential
Kakinada: Rice bran extraction exports, the main and traditional cargo for the age-old anchorage port, though have picked up after a gap of nearly four years, are now adversely affected with shortage of godown space on the one side and non-availability of barges on the other.
Lack of dedicated jetty for rice bran extraction, which is considered as the dusty and dirty cargo, has become the major hindrance.
Severity of storage space can be gauged with as much as 30,000 tonnes of rice bran extraction lying in the open space and shippers complaining of cargo damage due to exposure to atmosphere. There are 21 jetties, but most of them are engaged for loading of food grains and other general cargo.
"We have offered to construct a wharf for berthing of four steel barges at a cost of Rs. 50 lakhs. But the port authorities have failed to respond. Despite facing heavy odds, we are continuing the trade as rice bran extraction is the bread and butter for those depending on the age-old port," says a leading exporter. "Timely allotment of steel barges and workers is essential to meet the export requirement. But procedural delays have made the shipper to wait for two to three days. Later, due to delay in meeting scheduled loading of cargo, they are forced to pay demurrages at the rate of Rs. 10 lakhs to Rs. 12 lakhs per vessel. Unless the barge owners and workers cooperate, it is difficult to meet the export requirement," says another shipper.
Rice bran extraction exports are to the order of 1.89 lakh tonnes during 2006 and are expected to cross 2 lakh tonnes this year. Already, 43,000 tonnes were exported to Vietnam in last five weeks ending February 7.