The move of the Customs Department to procure an X-Ray scanner at the International Container Transshipment Terminal, Vallarpadam, will be delayed as the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) is yet to give the final nod.
The AERB is the agency responsible to give sanction to procure the equipment.
The International Container Transshipment was granted relaxation in Cabotage Law for three years by the Union Ministry of Shipping on condition of 100 per cent radiological scanning of containers.
The Cochin Port Trust (CPT) has already established facilities for 100 per cent radiological scanning though the ICTT lacks an X-Ray scanner. The task of procuring, installing and operating the X-Ray scanner is entrusted with the Customs. It was on December 22 last year that the Union Ministry of Shipping issued the order relaxing Cabotage provision for the ICTT for three years subject to various conditions. The Union Ministry of Defence had earlier expressed its apprehension over granting free entry for ships objection for granting free entry.
The Customs authorities said the proposal to procure the scanner was still under the consideration of AERB.
“The Customs can procure the scanner only after the AERB approve the proposal. The device costs around `30 crore. Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Mumbai, is the only port in India where X-Ray and gamma scanners are installed for inspecting the cargo,” said Customs Commissioner K N Raghavan.
However, it will not affect the inspection activities presently as we already verify containers using radiological scanners.
“The terminal is now equipped with radiological scanners with which we inspect 100 percent cargo moves in and out via ICTT. Around 600-700 scanners are inspected using radiological scanner,” said a top official of DP World, Kochi, the operators of the terminal. He said the company was making continued efforts to attract more shipping lines, mainly those who operate mother ships, to Kochi.