Tuesday, August 24, 2010

JNPT and Mumbai 'back to normal' after vessel collision

India’s two biggest ports are to resume operations today after the last containers blocking the approach channels to Jawaharlal Nehru (JNPT) and Mumbai were cleared, according to local reports.

The Indian Directorate General of Shipping has said the Navy will no longer escort vessels in and out of the ports. Over a fortnight ago, a collision between the containership MSC Chitra and cargo vessel Khalijia 3 off the Mumbai coast closed the ports completely. Around 250 of the containers that fell off the MSC Chitra and blocked the approaches would now have floated towards South Maharashtra, and have been declared “as good as lost”.

Joint Shipping Secretary Rakesh Srivastava said: “There is no congestion at the ports now. Around 93 vessels have left Mumbai and JNPT and 80 others have entered the ports to discharge or load cargo.” Meanwhile, experts have started an attempt to stabilise the MSC Chitra by adding ballast water into one of its tanks. The government and Mumbai Port Trust (MPT) have asked Mediterranean Shipping Company, the owner of the Chitra, to pay compensation for the spillage.

MPT Chairman Rahul Asthana told reporters: “Following the principle of strict liability, MSC will have to bear the cost of operations and the loss of business. This would also include the cost of cleaning up the environment once we have quantified it,” Many foreign ports will not handle vessels over 20 years old, fearing they are not very seaworthy and could slow operational efficiency. The MSC Chitra is 31 years old and the Khalijia 3 about 26. MSC said: “For reasons not known to us, the Khalijia 3 unexpectedly continued turning to port and came back to cross the fairway again, now heading in a generally northbound direction, and struck the MSC Chitra’s port side. “Therefore, it would appear that, under the rules of navigation, the Khalijia 3 was significantly in error. We, of course, await the results of the full inquiry.” The President of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations has said that the closure of the ports could affect US$4 billion of trade.

Source: IFW

Friday, August 20, 2010

Russia plans revamp of over-bureaucratic customs service

Russia plans to reform its customs administration after President Dmitry Medvedev admitted that the current flawed system was putting off investors.

Lengthy delays, fluctuating costs and over-bureaucratic procedures were stifling trade, said Medvedev, according to Prime-Tass news agency. Customs officers physically inspect some 44% of shipments moved across Russia’s borders – a process that on average takes five days. This compares with just 3% of shipments physically inspected in the US and Germany, and less than 2% in the UK.

“Expenses related to crossing the border are sometimes unpredictable, and lead to refusal of placing new manufacturing in Russia,” Medvedev added. “These problems also concern domestic manufacturers, including potential exporters of hi-tech products. All this puts us into a very grave environment.” He called for the creation of a “green channel” to speed up the movement of hi-tech goods.

Russia is ranked 120 out of 183 countries in this year’s Ease of Doing Business survey by the World Bank. Its performance in the Trading Across Borders index was even worse, ranking a lowly 162nd. The World Bank found that import and export procedures in Russia for a standard shipment – including document preparation, customs clearance, port handling and inland transport – on average takes 36 days and costs $1,850.

Source: IFW