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JNPT hikes toll rates on cargo arriving/departing by road

Oct 20, 2017

Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) has raised the toll rates on cargo going in and out of the gate complexes of the country’s busiest container gateway. The rates have be hiked by ?27 a container and by ?2 a tonne on project and liquid cargo passing through a four-lane road.
 
The new toll rates will be ?267 for a twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) and ?22 per tonne for project cargo/liquid cargo. The user fee for cement and LPG has been retained at ?5 per tonne. The tolls are collected from the shipping lines.
 
The hike in toll rates took effect from October 1 and will run through March 2019, the Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP), said in a gazette notification.
 
In view of heavy traffic congestion at roads of NH-4B and SH-54 arising from long queue at the toll gates erected by the Mumbai JNPT Port Road Company Ltd (MJPRCL), the Government, in keeping up with its policy of ease of doing business, decided to close the toll gates from May 1, 2016.
 
Since the main user of the four-lane road is JNPT-bound cargo and considering the traffic congestion at toll gates and the resistance of local commuters against tolling, the government directed the port authority to collect toll/ user fee at its gate complexes from the port goods traffic which use the road.
 
The aim was to compensate the Mumbai JNPT Port Road Company for the losses incurred on account of closure of toll gates. MJPRCL is a special purpose company formed by the National Highways Authority of India for the development, maintenance and management of the highway linking the port.
 
From May 1, 2016, JNPT has been collecting a toll rate of ?240 for a TEU, ?20 per tonne each for project cargo and liquid cargo and 5 per tonne each for cement and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
 
JNPT said the hike in user fee was necessary to bridge the shortfall in revenue collection estimated at ?13.53 crore a year to recover the cost of building and maintaining the road.
 
After the tolling point was shifted from the toll gates to the port’s gate complexes and the user charges was levied on cargo instead of on vehicles, there is less traffic congestion on highways and consequently less congestion on port roads, thereby facilitating hassle free movement of goods, a spokesman for JNPT said.
 
The increased cost burden at this point is unacceptable to the trade, said an official at the Federation of Indian Export Organisations or FIEO, a trade lobby group. JNPT handled 62 million tonnes of cargo in the year ended March 2017 including 4.5 million TEUs.
 
Between April and September this year, the port loaded 2.4 million TEUs and 3.6 mt of liquid cargo.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



Freight rates up on busy cargo movements

Oct 20, 2017

Freight rates for the nine-tonne payload section for select destinations for Southern regions quoted higher by Rs. 1000 at the local trucks transport market in the national capital today following increased cargo movements against tight availability of trucks.
 
Transporters said pick up in cargo movements in view of festive season against less availability of trucks mainly kept freight rates for select Southern regions higher.
 
Delhi to Bengaluru, Chennai and Mysore were up by Rs. 1,000 each to Rs. 64,000, Rs. 66,000 and Rs. 68,000 respectively.
 
Following are today’s freights per 9-tonne load (in Rs): Jaipur 18,000 Hyderabad 58,000 Chandigarh 20,000 Vijayawada 60,000 Ludhiana 19,000 Bengaluru 64,000 Kanpur 21,000 Chennai 66,000 Indore 22,000 Mysore 68,000 Ahmedabad 22,500 Puducherry 69,000 Baroda 23,500 Coimbatore 71,000 Patna 27,500 Kochi 74,000 Surat 27,500 Thiruvananthapuram 84,000 Mumbai 30,000 Goa 61,000 Pune 32,000 Gwalior 14,500 Kolkata 34,000 Guwahati 62,
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



Reformative measures like GST will improve economy: Naidu

Oct 20, 2017

The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that reformative measures like the introduction of GST will improve the economy. 
 
He was addressing the 90th anniversary celebration of Andhra Chamber of Commerce, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu on Tuesday. The Governor of Tamil Nadu, Banwarilal Purohit and the Minister for Fisheries, Personnel and Administrative Reforms, Tamil Nadu, D. Jayakumar were present on the occasion.
 
He said, Reformative measures like the introduction of GST will improve the economy in the long run, although there might be some teething problems in the initial stages of implementation. In the end, such reforms will also benefit the consumers.
 
Quoting a report by World Bank, he said, with various measures taken by the government to step up economic growth, including FDI in various sectors and given the strong macro-economic fundamentals, India will continue to grow steadily. 'The economic activity', according to the 'Country Snapshot' published by the World Bank, is expected to stabilize, maintaining annual GDP growth at 7% in the year 2018. 
 
The report goes on to say, "Growth is projected to increase to 7.4% by Fiscal year 2020, underpinned by a recovery in private investments prompted by a recent increase in public capex and an improvement in the investment climate (partly due to the passage of the GST and the bankruptcy code and the measures to attract FDI)." 
 
In his address, he said, "Describing the two major recent reforms in India - demonetisation and goods and services tax (GST) -as a monumental effort, IMF chief said "it is hardly surprising that there is a little bit of a short-term slowdown as a result. But for the medium term, we see a very solid track ahead for the Indian economy, she said to a question on India.
 
The world is changing at a rapid pace aided by technological and digital revolutions. Any nation unable to keep pace with the changes will become a laggard. India is at the threshold of becoming one of the major economic powers and the private sector can play a huge role in accelerating the growth and development of the country.
 
In his address he added that Tamil Nadu is among the States which are in the forefront of industrialization. This State is known, among others, for the automotive, leather and textiles industries and the hard working nature of the population. To spur growth, we have to improve infrastructure, resource efficiency and promote innovative technologies, he added. 
    
Source: SME Time



JNPT gets 12 bids to move containers under ‘direct port delivery’ scheme

Oct 20, 2017

Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), has received 12 initial bids from transporters on a tender for evacuating import containers from the four terminals of India’s busiest container port to five locations and their nodes.
 
The tender is part of a plan to speed up imports through the direct port delivery (DPD) programme and, thereby, cut transaction cost and time.
 
The tender — a first of its kind in India — involves selecting as many as seven big road transporters who will deploy some 2,665 tractor trailers (TTs) — both owned and aggregated — for evacuating containers landing at the port to locations in Gujarat, Ahmednagar, Nashik, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Indore and Hyderabad, Goa, Bengaluru and near Mumbai over distances ranging from 40 km to 1,100 km. The bids are being scrutinised on technical and financial parameters, a spokesman for JNPT said.
 
In the DPD process, the port is eliminating one key stakeholder — container freight stations (CFS) — and its role is now assumed by other stakeholders — terminals, shipping lines and transporters, according to JNPT.
 
The transporter will play a critical role in the success of the DPD model. In fact, the role goes much beyond the scope of a normal transporter. The transporter has to co-ordinate with terminals for efficient fleet deployment. It has to take the responsibility of cargo, insurance, prevent theft/damage to container, and ensure safe delivery, JNPT said.
 
The four terminals at JNPT currently provide containers to the trucks on the best pick model — 33 CFSs and 50 ICDs (inland container depots) are linked to the port.
 
It would not be possible for the terminals to stack containers client-wise as the number of DPD clients is very high. JNPT has limitations to achieve higher percentages of DPD due to constraints in yard area for segregation, the spokesman said.
 
According to the transport solution proposed by JNPT, all DPD containers will be distributed route-wise. Port terminal operators will arrange DPD import boxes route-wise in separate stacking area.
 
JNPT will not enter into any direct commercial arrangement with the transporter. It will be mandatory for importers to hire the selected transporters for taking the DPD import delivery by entering into a commercial arrangement with them. The successful transporter will have the exclusive right to clear the DPD containers from the port for the corresponding route for which it is selected.
 
Importers will not be allowed to use their own fleet.
 
The transportation arrangement will be for an initial period of three years with a provision to extend it by two years.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



US to monitor India's foreign exchange reserves

Oct 20, 2017

The US Treasury has said that it would keep a watch on India’s increasing foreign exchange reserves as Mint Street continues to accumulate the dollar to arrest the appreciation of the rupee. 
 
The Treasury will be closely monitoring India’s foreign exchange and macroeconomic policies,’ said the Treasury in a report titled Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States. The report was submitted to the US Congress. A watch does not mean anything adverse or positive at this point, but it could become a point of discussion whenever there are negotiations on trade-related matters between the world’s two biggest democracies. 
 
Over the first half of 2017, there has been a notable increase in the scale and persistence of India’s net foreign exchange purchases, which have risen to around $42 billion (1.8% of GDP) over the four quarters through June 2017. India has a significant bilateral goods trade surplus with the United States, totalling $23 billion over the four quarters through June 2017, the report said. 
 
Treasury has established thresholds for the three criterias that determine whether there is a need for enhanced analysis and vigilance of any country’s foreign exchange policies. These include bilateral trade surplus with the United States of at least $20 billion, and a current account deficit of at least 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) with the US. 
 
Furthermore, a persistent, one-sided intervention occurs when net purchases of foreign currency are conducted repeatedly and it totals at least 2 percent of an economy’s GDP over a 12-month period. 
 
India is very close to meeting this criterion (the last of the three) for the four quarters ending June 2017, with net purchases of foreign currency slightly below 2% of GDP, the report said. 
 
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been aggressively intervening in the currency markets in the recent past to arrest a steep appreciation of the rupee against the dollar. Currently, as of October 6, India’s foreign exchange reserves were at $398 billion after having crossed $400 billion mid-September. But if one factors in the RBI’s forward market purchases, India’s reserves could be well over 420 billion, estimate economists. 
 
The report aims to highlight US concerns on protecting American workers and companies, and create a level playing field when competing internationally. It also looks to monitor economic policies closely to ensure that the trading partners do not indulge in unfair currency practices.
 
 

 

    
Source: The Economic Times



Momentum in India-UAE ties helping implement bilateral deals: Navdeep Singh Suri

Oct 20, 2017

The bilateral ties of India and UAE have a very strong momentum which is helping in implementation of the agreements signed between the two countries, India's envoy to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri has said. 
 
Suri said that very soon there might be an announcement about the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority entering into a formal relationship with the National Infrastructure Investment Fund. 
 
I don't want to pre-empt this and you will see the details as they emerge, he told PTI. 
 
Our endeavour really is to translate many of those intentions into actual investments and projects. To that extent, the end of November we have the high-level task force on investment, led by Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu from our side and by Emirati businessman and managing director of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed from the UAE side, Suri said. 
 
Part of our dialogue is that even as we try to resolve the erstwhile or legacy issues, we also take a forward-looking approach and to move beyond just talking in general terms about investment, to have a situation where somebody is offering a highway project or an airport, or a metro or a renewable energy plant or a whole lot of other different sectors, he said. 
 
We have competitors participating in different arenas. We have delegates from both CII(Confederation of Indian Industry) and FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry). We have officials from half a dozen state governments and the central government, Suri said. 
 
Chief minister of Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu Naidu who is coming with a strong delegation, including a couple of ministers, he said. 
 
On November 29, we have the India-UAE strategic dialogue, which will be followed by the India-UAE Partnership Summit, which we are working with ASSOCHAM (The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India). For this we have high-level participation both from India and the UAE, said Ambassador Suri. 
 
According to him, this momentum has been built for two reasons beginning with Dubai and now Abu Dhabi positioning themselves as hubs where major conferences and events take place. 
 
Over 100 Indian companies participated in four different segments of GITEX (Gulf Information Technology Exhibition). The bilateral relations that now have very strong momentum in terms of ministerial visits and in terms of actually implementing many of the agreements that have been signed between the two countries, he added. 
 

 

    
Source: The Economic Times



Karnataka makes a global pitch for millets

Oct 20, 2017

Karnataka, a large producer of millets such as ragi, jowar, bajra and foxtail, is spearheading an initiative to place these nutrient-rich cereals on the global food plate.
 
The State is organising an international event in Bengaluru in January to attract interest in millets. This is even as Indian consumers are seen increasingly attracted to global ‘super foods’ such as quinoa and chia seeds.
 
We are continuing with our awareness campaign on millets and plan to take it to a larger platform soon, said Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda, on the proposed event. The State had organised a national meet in April, seeking to create demand on the basis of the health and nutritional benefits of millets and organic produce.
 
Plea to FAO
On the policy side, Gowda recently met senior officials of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome and pushed for including millets as part of the UN agency’s advocacy campaign.
 
We have made a strong pitch to the FAO to include millets in its advocacy not only on health and nutrition grounds, but also as part of sustainable agriculture, he said.
 
A team led by the Union Food Secretary had also made a case with the FAO to have an International Year for Millets, Gowda said.
 
Talking about the upcoming event, he said the idea is to create awareness that will help expand both domestic and export markets for millets, which eventually will benefit farmers.
 
Karnataka has already reached out to various stakeholders, such as the trade, companies and the research community in the US and Europe, from where it expects some participation.
 
We will soon be sending a team of officials to West Asia, he said.
 
Though millets such as ragi and foxtail have seen a new-found demand in recent years with health-conscious consumers waking up to their nutritional benefits as lifestyle diseases rise, the production of such nutri-cereals has witnessed a volatile trend.
 
These cereals have been losing ground over the years as farmers have been switching over to cash crops such as cotton and maize.
 
As per the first advance estimates, the production of small millets this year is seen declining further to 0.33 million tonnes from last year’s 0.34 mt and a decade high of 0.55 mt in 2007-08.
 
Similarly, the production of ragi is seen dropping to 1.61 million tonnes this year.
 
Interestingly, farmers in Karnataka have doubled acreage to around 40,000 hectares under minor millets such as foxtail and proso.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



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