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Kutch trade body urges Centre to set up national shipping line carrier

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RAJKOT : With the container shortage crisis crippling the exim trade, the Federation of Kutch Industries Association (FOKIA) has sought urgent intervention of the central government in regulating the exorbitant freight rates by setting up a flagship Nationalized Shipping Liner Carrier.

This government enterprise will encourage making containers in India and dedicated exclusively for the Indian merchandise exim cargo. Earlier, efforts have been made to make containers in Bhavnagar and Kutch, but the projects are saddled with technical problems and certification issues.

Nimish Phadke, Managing Director, FOKIA said, “This crisis has come as a double whammy as it has occurred at a time when the global Covid-19 pandemic has already triggered a
slowdown in economic activities across the world. We have suggested that the ministries of shipping and commerce regulate the sea freight as per geographical sector on a portto-port basis. The freight should be decided on the formulas like maximum retail price or standard selling price as prevailing in the retail domestic markets.”

The apex trade body of Kutch said the majority of the industries affected by this crisis fall under small and medium scale industries categories.

The representation was made to Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal who were recently on a visit to Deendayal Port Trust.

“Due to container shortage for export, the industry lost the orders worth millions of dollars. All these sectors fall under the small and medium scale industry category. This also resulted in monetary loss of tax and other statutory levy of state and central government,” the representation stated.

While the pandemic has caused the acute shortage of manpower, delay in custom  clearance,cargo handling, driver shortages, and other allied activities, exporters who have signed long-term CIF contracts are losing heavily as customers are not willing to revise contracts rates.

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