Staff Reporter

Oppose imposition of parking fee by the Cochin Port Trust

KOCHI: Container trailer movements to and from Kochi Port came to a standstill on Tuesday after trailer operators called off their services in protest against the imposition of parking fee on trailer lorries at the Port premises.

Cochin Port Trust Chairman N. Ramachandran described the strike as unwarranted. But the trailers owners say that they should not be penalised for the delays at the Port premises, which is no fault of theirs.

V. P. Chandrashekharan, secretary of Cochin Container Carrier Owners’ Welfare Association, said the Port Trust move was not acceptable. The Port Trust is charging Rs.15 for an hour for 40-foot containers and Rs.10 for 20-foot containers for an hour in excess of the first six hours.

The Port Trust has been imposing the fee since January 5. The new move means that trailer lorries have to pay the parking fees after six hours of its entry into the Port premises. All loading and unloading operations have to be carried out within six hours of the trailer lorry entering the Port premises.

Mr. Chandrashekharan said that this was not justified since the delay in movement of cargo was not entirely dependent on the trailer lorry crew. The delays at the pre-stage and during the Customs checks make it impossible for the trailers to leave the Port premises in six hours of their entry. The Port Trust Chairman said that the decision to impose the fee was taken in consultation with the stakeholders.

The Port Trust authorities went ahead with imposition of the parking fees in view of the increased number of container trailers at the Port premises and also because of the haphazard manner of their parking.

A number of major accidents at the Port premises have been attributed to the haphazard parking of container lorries.

The cost of maintenance of quality roads on Port premises is another factor that has come into play when the Port authorities decided to impose the parking fees.