Responding positively to the plea of importers and exporters in Kerala, the Department of Fisheries and Port has extended the operational incentive for coastal shipping for a period of six more months. For 20-ft loaded containers, the incentive will be 50% of the road coast. A 30% enhanced incentive will be given to 40-feet loaded containers as part of the revised relief package.
The revision was considered on the basis of a study conducted by the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC). It will benefit all containers operating from Vallarpadam International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT). Importers from the Malabar region will be one of the main beneficiaries of the revised incentives.
On behalf of the importers’ community, the Ports’ Committee of the Calicut Chamber of Commerce and Industry had earlier sought a revision of the existing incentive system for facilitating better container movement through seaports. They said a revised incentive scheme to compensate the loss of vessel operators should be introduced in Kerala with at least three years’ duration.
The committee had also claimed that the incentive earlier declared by the government was least attractive for small-scale importers who were hit by limited operations at the Beypore Port. According to them, only a better incentive would attract more importers from the northern Kerala region.
A few months ago, the practice of unlawfully charging demurrage and ground rent from importers without sticking to the specific advisory issued by the Union government during the lockdown period too had been put to an end with the intervention of State and Union governments. There were several importers who had received bills between ₹5,000 and ₹2 lakh for payments as the facility providers at the Vallarpadam terminal were allegedly not ready to follow government guidelines.