Govt announces new port tariff norms

Written by fe Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Aug 1 2013, 06:03am hrs
The shipping ministry on Wednesday announced a new set of guidelines for determining tariffs at major ports, under which ports are allowed to charge a maximum of 15% above the ceiling rate, which would be decided by the Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP). However, the tariff revisions are applicable only for prospective projects, and not for the existing ones.

TAMP will accept or reject the tariff hike proposals made by the port operators on the basis of the port's performance. The major port operators would be allowed to revise the tariffs only once a year in the beginning of the financial year, shipping minister GK Vasan told reporters in Mumbai.

Tariff authority for major ports (TAMP), which was constituted in 1997, regulates the tariffs for the major ports in the country. Till now, tariffs for major ports were not fixed according to market rates, and hence generally tend to be lower than that of the private ports.

Under the new guidelines, TAMP would still have the powers to determine the tariffs based on the performance of individual ports. Proposal for increase in tariff should be sent to TAMP, stating achievements in performance standards in the previous year. These should be certified by an independent engineer drawn from an approved panel, according to the guidelines. TAMP shall not consider a hike in tariff if the performance standards of a port are not achieved.

Interestingly, the existing port projects in the country would not any see any change as their tariffs would still be fixed by TAMP. This means that there would not be a level-playing field between the existing projects and the prospective ones.

Vasan added that the shipping ministry is in the process of bringing out a migration policy under which even the existing projects' tariffs can be revised under the guidelines. This first phase of guidelines has taken some time for us to bring out. We are trying to bring out another set of guidelines so that the existing projects would also be benefited. But that will take some time, Vasan said.