India: Govt directs major ports not to collect penal charges from users during lockdown period


The Shipping Ministry has asked the 12 major ports to implement its April 21 advisory in “letter and spirit” and ensure that no penal charges are levied from port users during the lockdown period, plus 30 days recovery time.

The move follows complaints from port users that the Ministry directive was being ignored by some of the major ports and private terminals operating therein.

“The detailed advisory dated April 21 may be implemented in letter and spirit and the ports shall ensure that no penal charges, demurrages, detention charges, dwell time charges, anchorage charges, penal berth hire charges, performance related penalties etc are levied on any port user for any delay in docking/undocking, loading/unloading operations or evacuation/arrival of cargo/repair of vessel during the lockdown period, plus 30 days recovery period,” the Ministry said in a September 2 letter to all the major ports.

The Ministry reiterated that its April advisory on exemption/remission charges due to force majeure triggered by the coronavirus will be applicable for all port related activities affected by the pandemic.

“The genuineness of the effect on the ‘port related activities’ due to lockdown must be ascertained by the respective ports,” the Ministry told the major ports.

Commenting on the Ministry’s advisory, Rahul Modi, member of the National Shipping Board, urged all stakeholders in coastal trade “to support state-owned major ports to avail such intervention/supporting measures from the government”.

“The government’s support measures are a big relief to shipping lines and freight forwarders in the current circumstances,” he added.
Source: The Hindu Business Line



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