New Delhi: The contentious issue of regulated port tariffs has once again come in the way of resolving the stand-off between the Indian government and top global port operators on the smooth running of container terminals at major Indian ports.
Companies such as DP World, AP Moller-Maersk Terminals and PSA International had sought government approval to migrate to a more favourable tariff regime, so that they could improve their rate of return on the heavy investments they had made in container handling facilities at top Indian ports like Jawaharlal Nehru, Chennai and Tuticorin.
The shipping ministry had made a counter-proposal to these firms that they offer their terminals for rebidding after handing over to the state-run major ports the surpluses they had earned in excess of the permissible limit, and withdrawing the petitions they have filed in courts against tariff cuts ordered by the Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP).
The ministry stipulated that the existing operators of each of some ten terminals all over the country would be given the right of first refusal to match the highest price quotation (in case they were not the highest bidder in the auction) and take on the contract.
“The shipping ministry’s offer has been rejected by the terminal operators during a meeting last week,” said Shashank Kulkarni, secretary-general of the Indian Private Ports and Terminals Association (IPPTA). “We will write to the ministry explaining our stand on the issue”.