PANJIM: A ban on construction of new barges for operations in Goan waters appears justified, as over the last eight years, the number of trips made by a single barge per season has dropped from 150 trips, to 50, in 2011-12.
The Goa Barge Owners Association pointed out that the drop in number of trips per barge per season,
extending from 15th September to 31st May, was observed over four years ago. “The market had started saturating in 2008 and has worsened in 2012,” said Atul Jadav President of the Goa Barge Owners Association.
He said, that in 2008, the trips had dropped to 120 and with a slump in mining exports in the last one year barge operations have been adversely hit.
From 54.5 million tonnes of exports in 2010-11, the same had dropped to 40 million tonnes this year, GBOA explained.
Adding more and more new barges to the existing fleet was only adding to the woes, Jadav opined. He said that GBOA had been petitioning the government in the past and has wholeheartedly welcomed the orders issued recently by the Captain of Ports banning construction of new barges and entry of barges from outside Goa.
The GBOA chief pointed out that during the last two years, 88 new barges had been commissioned in the Goan waters, taking the total number of barges from around 312 to 400.
He said that with the number of trips decreasing, the barge owners were unable to pay up loans, interest on loans and even in many cases charges for hiring of barge vessels.