Special Correspondent

Port will offer tariff concessions

CHENNAI: The Chennai Port Trust and Hyundai Motor India Limited will sign a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday, under which the port trust will offer tariff concessions to ensure that the car major continues to patronise it for at least 12 more years.

The MoU, according to senior port trust officials, was important. The port focussed on attracting and retaining clean and valuable cargo such as car exports. It was imperative as other ports in the neighbourhood were luring Hyundai.

Chennai Port Trust chairman K. Suresh and HMIL managing director H.S. Lheem are scheduled to sign the agreement in the presence of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi at the inauguration of the 125th year celebrations of the Chennai port.

Mr. Suresh said the port would be extending concessions on the wharfage and vessel related charges to Hyundai. The more the number of car units exported, the greater would be the concessions. On wharfage charges alone, the concessions would be up to 50 per cent.

Car exports by Hyundai, through the port, last fiscal were one lakh and is expected to cross 1.20 lakh in 2006-07.

On commissioning of its second manufacturing plant, Hyundai was expected to export three lakh cars, he said. Under the agreement, the minimum volume of exports by Hyundai every year through the port was fixed at 50,000 units. The port trust, Mr. Suresh said, proposed to develop a multi-level car parking to accommodate 6,000 units, a cruise terminal, and shopping and allied facilities on a build-operate-transfer basis.