The recently introduced Direct Port Delivery (DPD), with the aim of facilitating trade, has led to severe congestion at the Kolkata Container Terminal, causing agony to container operators calling at the port.
Kolkata Dock System, being one of the oldest city-based ports in the country, has considerable space constraint at the terminal, besides lack of infrastructure.
Moreover, the Kolkata Police authorities have imposed road restrictions of almost 7 hours a day on a staggered basis since a year on the movement of heavy vehicles around the port area, thus restricting the movement of cargoes/containers to/from the port.
The implementation of DPD has further added to the congestion inside the port terminal, thereby severely affecting vessel operations.
Vessel turnaround time continues to increase, considering pre-berthing delays and period towards berth occupancy for cargo operations.
Under the prevailing situation, container vessel operators face huge losses towards their operating costs in the present depressed exim market, including the shipping lines / trade, who are incurring higher costs towards port demurrage charges owing to delays in clearance.
It is felt that, in view of the available facilities created by off-dock CFS operators close to the port for facilitating speedy removal/clearance from/to the port, it would be appropriate for the port to insist on removal of cargoes in containers by importers within the prescribed time limit of 3 days of landing from vessel, failing which such cargoes/containers should be allowed to be removed to nominated off-dock CFS in order to decongest the yard.
Moreover, the growing volume of rail-bound exim containers is also adding to the ground stock due to shortage of speedy rake handling facility at the terminal.
Given these conditions, it is imperative that the competent authorities take a fresh look at the DPD policy in the interest of port users on a long-term and sustained manner.