Ensuring smooth shipping ops during COVID;46,000 crew, passengers thermal scanned:Ship Min

Ensuring smooth shipping ops during COVID;46,000 crew, passengers thermal scanned:Ship Min
New Delhi, Apr 7 () The government on Tuesday said it is committed to maintaining smooth operations across its shipping ports and has initiated a number of steps, including waiving rentals and thermal scanning of 46,000 crew and passengers, in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.

Total traffic handling at major ports has also increased marginally by 0.82 per cent to 705 million tonnes (MT) during the last fiscal.

"In the wake of unprecedented crisis due to Covid-19, the Ministry of Shipping has been taking pro-active steps to ensure smooth running of shipping and port operations, ease the hardships, and at the same time, following the restrictions imposed during the lockdown," the Ministry of Shipping said in a statement.

A total of 46,202 passengers have been scanned between January 27 and February 4 using thermal scanners at Indian ports, including 39,225 people scanned at major ports.
Elaborating the steps taken to ensure smooth shipping operations, the government said it has asked each major port to ensure that no penalties, demurrage, charges, fee, rentals are levied on any port user (traders, shipping lines, concessionaires, licensees etc.) for any delay in berthing or loading/unloading operations or evacuation of cargo caused by the reasons attributable to lockdown measures from March 22 to April 14, 2020.

It said each major port shall exempt or remit demurrage, ground rent over and above the free period, penal anchorage/berth hire charges and any other performance-related penalties that may be levied on port-related activities including minimum performance guarantee, wherever applicable.

Besides for existing and operational PPP projects, the major ports can permit waiver of all penal consequences on a case-to-case basis along with deferment of certain performance obligations. On preparedness of hospitals across the major port trusts, it said these have been supplied with the personal protective equipment (PPEs) and the arrangement of sufficient staff round the clock has been made.

"In some port hospitals, a part of the hospital can be earmarked for Covid-19 with separate entry and exit," it said.

Ports and PSUs under the Ministry of Shipping have contributed more than Rs 52 crore from the CSR funds towards PM CARES Fund. Besides, employees of ports, PSUs and other offices of the Ministry of Shipping have contributed over Rs 7 crore from their salaries towards PM CARES Fund.

About EXIM trade, the statement said in order to ensure that the EXIM trade does not suffer due to certain unavoidable delays in loading and discharge of cargo due to the lockdown, the shipping lines have been advised to not impose any container detention charge on export and import shipments of containerised cargo till April 14.

The number of vessels handled by ports during 2019-20 was around 20,837 against 20,853 vessels in 2018-19. NAM MRMR

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