Chennai Port assures good deal for fertilizer importers
As part of its series of trade facilitation meetings with (port) users, Chennai Port on Aug. 19 organized an interactive session with fertilizer importers in its premises.
More than a dozen prominent players in the sector, including Madras Fertilizers Limited, Coromandel International Ltd, Indian Potash Limited, Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd, KRIBCHO and Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation Ltd-SPIC (from importers side) and Express Clearing Agency, Western Agencies and PSTS Logistics Ltd (from stevedores’ side) had sent their representatives for the interactive session.
Initiating a free-wheeling chat with the prominent players of the segment in the region, Mr. N. Vaiyapuri, Traffic Manager, Chennai Port Trust, made a brief presentation on the facilities available for importers of fertilizers in the port.
In his brief presentation on the current scenario, he spoke about the availability of transit sheds and modern warehouses for fertilizers inside the port premises.
While presenting the prevailing situation of continuing downward trend in handling of fertilizer imports in Chennai Port over the past five years with apt statistics, Mr. Vaiyapuri sought the trade’s help to improve the situation.
Addressing the elite guests, Mr. Atulya Misra, Chairman, Chennai Port Trust, sought a new perspective from the trade on how to turnaround the situation, where it would be win-win for both the port management as well as to the importers.
He also asked the trade to spell out their problems and other issues while approaching the Chennai Port management for import of fertilizer products.
During the interaction, the representatives of the trade outlined a few impediments like restricted movement of fertilizer products from port premises via road transport, non-availability of more rakes from Railways for moving out cargo, crane utilization and slow discharge rates – that prevent them from using the Chennai Port for their fertilizer imports.
Responding to them after giving a patient hearing to their problem and possible expectations from the port, Mr. Atulya Misra assured them of looking into their concerns in a systematic manner.
He also assured the trade that he would take up the movement restriction of fertilizer products in lorries as bulk (than bags) with the local authorities, including the traffic police department soon.
It may be noted here that the local authorities in Chennai had banned the movement of sulphur, one of the fertilizer products regularly imported via Chennai Port, in bulk (rather than packed in bags) in heavy vehicles due to a spillage event some five years ago.
According to the traders, they find it very difficult economically to import the product in bulk up to Chennai Port, then repack them into bags just for the prevailing movement restriction and unpack them to store it in bulk in their respective godowns.
Reacting to the demand of more rakes from Railways for moving such cargo, as 70 % of fertilizer products have to be mandatorily moved via rail-network only, the Chairman assured the trade that he would take up the matter with the Railway authorities very soon.
Mr. Misra also informed the EXIM players that the management has already envisaged plans for improving productivity and moving fast on enhancing handling capacity inside the port by going in for Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode.
Besides other senior port officials, Mr. R. Ananth, Assistant Commissioner, Chennai Customs, attended the meet and offered clarifications on Customs-related issues.