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