KOCHI: Despite offering four parking plazas near Vallarpadom International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT), occupancy of the plazas hasn’t even touched 50 per cent of the full capacity in the past few months amidst the demands of trade union coordination committee for allocating 10-acres inside the ICTT compound. As the parking of container lorries along the NH966A results in several accidents, the operators of parking terminals allege the non-cooperation of workers has resulted in severe loss in these plazas.
“Currently, less than 50 per cent of containers is utilising these facilities. We are charging only nominal rates like Rs 200 for 20-feet-long trailers and Rs 300 for 40-feet-long trucks for a day. Compared to many other ports across the country, we are offering the service at a feasible rate. Most of the time, trailers won’t remain for more than two hours. If they park only for the duration, we charge only Rs 50 for 20-ft trucks and Rs 60 for 40-ft trucks. Besides, we have provided a grace period of up to 2.5 hours in that rate,” said Mevin D’Silva, manager, Vegam Logitech services which operate the BPCL and LNG yards. The four terminals - LNG yard, BPCL yard, NACHKO yard and Arpith yard - operated by private agencies are currently having a maximum capacity of managing 570 containers at a time.
“Occasionally, a few trailers enter the facility multiple times a day. If they have paid for 12 hours, we won’t charge anything from them. Mostly, weekends have shown optimum use of the facility. But even then, the occupancy won’t go beyond 80 per cent,” he said.
However, trade union coordination committee members maintained that their daily expense includes the burgeoning toll prices and handling charges as well. “DP World and Cochin Port Trust should show their social responsibility in the matter. With the growing handling charges by the Port and expenses through toll charges, our business has nosedived these days. As our demand for free parking for the trucks is yet to be met, we are forced to park on the roadside thereby incurring the wrath of nearby residents. Instead of becoming mere facilitators, DP World and Cochin Port Trust should intervene in the matter,” said Charles George, general convenor, trade union coordination committee. Port officials said many companies have reportedly moved out from the management of the terminals as they incurred losses. “Many major business groups have evinced interest in the management of the facility ever since the establishment of Vallarpadom container terminal. A few of them take up the contract and leave in between due to poor returns. We hope that trade unions change their stance and utilise these facilities in the coming days,” said a Cochin Port Trust official.