Export-import business here has called for the establishment of a pre-stage facility or a Customs notified area to serve the newly-opened International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT). Meanwhile the procedural problems that delayed entry of containers into the ICTT area on Monday appeared to have been solved for now.
Sources in the shipping business said that there had been substantial delay in the movement of containers to and from ICTT premises owing to the confusion in the procedural formalities in the Special Economic Zone where the ICTT is located. The Vallarpadam facility is the first port to operate out of a, SEZ in the country.
A lack of clarity in the jurisdiction appeared to be the basic issue behind the delay in the movement of containers, shipping sources here added.
The entry of containers into the ICTT had been delayed, leading to congestion on the road outside the terminal area and in the container freight stations. The delay hit the export-import business hard, the hardest hit being exporters of high-value, perishable cargo like seafood.
Intervention by the Development Commissioner of Cochin Special Economic Zone and the Customs authorities here appeared to have solved the procedural problem temporarily on Tuesday, shipping sources said here.
They said that there was a need to establish a pre-stage facility where the cargo meant for export could be cleared quickly and efficiently. Such a facility was available at the former Rajiv Gandhi Container Terminal (RGCT).
The piling up of containers outside the terminal had forced staff of Customs House agents to stop processing shipping bills last week. This prompted the port, Customs and Special Economic Zone authorities to come out with a solution.
Some fresh trouble appeared to have surfaced on Tuesday when container lorry crew protested against the refusal of ICTT operator to allow anyone other than drivers into the terminal area. The lorry crew, other than drivers, have been kept out by the ICTT operator as part of security measures. Container movement was hit partially during the day owing to the protest by the lorry crew, who have been demanding better amenities outside the Terminal area.