Bunkering activity has decreased at Kochi port in India due to a variety of reasons, according to The Times of India.
The implementation of government service tax (GST) of 18% in July 2017 and a vessel collision involving Panama-registered bulk carrier Amber L with a fishing boat in June 2017 saw bunker calls at the port decrease from 20-25 ships to as low as five a month in September 2017, it says.
The Amber L collided with a fishing vessel which had its tracking device turned off; owners of fishing vessels switch off their ship’s tracking system to outsmart other fishermen. This practise increases the chances of fishing vessels getting hit by passing ships.
A GST reduction to 5% in October 2017, however, saw bunker calls at Kochi increase to 15 ships a month.
“Before GST implementation, bunkering activity was flourishing. However, realising the cheaper availability of fuel in ports like Colombo, many ships moved away,” explains a local shipping agent.
“In June, following the Amber L collision incident, the coastline got a bad reputation courtesy the legal tangle.
“Hence, ships skipped the coast completely avoiding the ports in Kerala. After GST was reduced, ships started coming in due to active canvassing.”
Photo credit: Cochin Port Trust
Published: 15 March, 2018
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