MPT levies charges on every vessel that enters its waters which earns it substantial revenue and this waiver has raised eyebrows because it has not been given to any other party
Vasco: In a shocking decision by the Board of Mormugao Port Trust meeting on March 31, 2018, the board decided to waive off 50% of internal sifting charges of vessels moving between Adani Terminal (Berth No 7) and South West Port Limited (Jindal’s Berth No 6).
MPT levies compulsory charges on every vessel entering its waters of which one such component is "pilotage" which is a major revenue earner for MPT. Pilotage is charged depending on the size of the vessel. The Port uses its own wireless operators, tugs, hired tugs, pilots, pilot boats and workers on shore for navigation of the vessel in the port. This navigation is called "movement" or "shifting" from one place to another. Every vessel is permitted three such "movements" within the pilotage charges, that is, from the open sea to outer anchorage, from outer anchorage to berth, and from berth to open sea. In other words, once pilotage is paid, the vessel can undertake three free movements/shifting after whichever addition shifting is charged.
Due to the cap on coal handling by Goa State Pollution Control Board, SWPL had tied up with Adani to share their berth/terminal to handle coal way back in February 2018. Adani's Terminal has been operating below its capacity since its inception about three years ago. This tie-up was known to the Board of Trustees and acknowledged in its earlier meeting. Under this arrangement, SWPL discharges part of their cargo on its own berth (Berth no. 6A) and then shifts the vessel to Adani's berth (Berth no. 7). This is done to ensure both parties don't exceed the handling quota. Such a shifting becomes the fourth movement and is chargeable as an additional movement. However, the MPT Board has resolved to give 50% discount in the ship's additional movement charge. The same benefit is not given to other vessels visiting the port.
Documents obtained under RTI by local residents Savio Correia and Peter Andrade reveal that in the recent Board of Trustees meeting held on August 30th, 2018, a proposal was placed to waive off 100% of port charges involved in internal shifting of vessels from Adani Coal Terminal (Berth 7) and SWPL Coal Terminal (Berth 6) or vice versa.
The proposal was mooted by then Chairman I Jeyakumar. The Board finally decided to give a 50% waiver till 31 March 2019.
Correia and Andrade call this deal MPT's hypocrisy. “While on one hand, MPT is crying from the roof-tops about financial crises due to a reduction in coal handling and even blackmailing its employees and pensioners to cut down on pensions and benefits, it is giving concessions”, said Correia.