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India's Haldia port in chaos, feeders threaten hefty surcharges

Calcutta: Container feeder lines are threatening hefty surcharges at Haldia port in Calcutta due to the fact none of the port's cranes are operational after a maintenance contract expired. None of Haldia Dock Complex's gantry cranes are operational after a three-year maintenance contract expired at the beginning of March. At present there is no maintenance contract in place plans for a three-month extension of the existing arrangement were scrapped after the contractor demanded a 100% price increase. Problems have been further compounded a strike by dock workers at the port. According to an executive from a Singapore-based feeder line only self-sustaining operations can be undertaken using geared vessels and reach stackers. "It is complete mess," he said. A letter sent by feeder operators to Haldia's management said: "We trust you can understand that feeder operators will have no alternative but to recover any increase in costs from the trade." It is understood feeder lines could double an existing $250 per teu surcharge to $500 if the problems at the port are not resolved. [10/03/10]

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