Cargo heads to Tuticorin now

Long wait at checkposts, inflexibility on weight drive containers away

Kochi: A container carrier had to wait for at least nine hours at the green channel at Walayar checkpost, the entry point to Kerala, until some time ago. Now, the waiting period is very less, and there is hardly a queue.

Don’t think that it is because the state government has introduced additional facilities there. “The time the container had to wait at the green channel was enough for it to reach Tuticorin,” says Prakash Iyer, president of the Cochin Steamer Agents Association. “So, naturally, the cargo movement has now turned to the port in Tamil Nadu.”

The Gopalapuram checkpost has no green channel and hence the cargo that comes from Pollachi was also forced to wait for a long time. “The arrival of cargo from Tamil Nadu has practically dried up now,” he said.

While the government has no ear to listen to woes of the exporters, it is extra vigilant on violation of rules. “The Motor Vehicle Act and its rules reflect realities of the past, not of today,” Mr Iyer said. “We have represented to the government to put pressure on the Central government to update the law so that container carriers would be able to carry more weight and cargo movement becomes a little more hassle-free, but nothing has happened.”

The governments in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have found a way to circumvent the law. “We have never heard of a container carrier being fined for carrying a bit extra in containers in these states,” Mr Iyer said.

“But Kerala officials are very strict and fine the exporter if there is a violation of rules. The government can at least ask the Central government to change the rules,” he said. The exporters, again, do not want to take the trouble and go to Tuticorin instead, he said.

( Source : dc )
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