Workers Shortage at Mumbai Port Affecting Vessel Operation
Mumbai and Nhava Sheva Ship Agents Association has drawn the attention of Mumbai Port Trust towards the shortage of dock workers and winch drivers that continues to adversely affects the vessel operations and if need be to outsource these activities.
Shortage of workers at the port has been instrumental in prolonging the vessel stay at the port affecting the turnaround time to 4-5 days from around 2-3 days, thereby escalating the costs. As against the normal requirement of 4/5 gangs (workers) per vessel, the supply is only of 1/2 gangs.
In fact, the port had invited applications for awarding stevedoring licenses to the private operators in light of the heavy shortage of labour, but the progress of this initiative is yet to be ascertained. The association also pointed out towards the undue delay in refund from the port for the stevedoring services that prevents the agents of the respective vessels from finalizing their accounts.
MANSA has sought an audience to the chairman of Mumbai Port to discuss these and several other functional issues confronting the members as also the maritime fraternity to help improve the efficiency of the port operation.
In the last interactive meeting held on November 21, the port had laid down 14 directives to be followed by the trade and port officials for ensuring the transparency in carrying out Contracts / day to day work, accordingly to comply with the prescribed norms of the contract terms of laws laid down without any illegal gratification for any work. However, there is an urgent need to remove the impediments / shortages in required services and to improve efficiencies with abundance of availability of willing workers.
Meanwhile, amid the clarion call for cashless payment post demonetisation, the dock masters office insist on submitting hard copy of the receipt for confirming payment of the port charges that are being paid online due to difficulty in verifying the payments on lack of inter-connectivity. The association intends to draw the port chairman’s attention towards rectifying the inter-connectivity issue by installing mobile towers inside the port area.