The global economic meltdown has impacted adversely even the common carrier feeder services operating at Indian ports, with most of the companies witnessing a slump in cargo throughput, it is learnt.
According to Exim News Service, the feeder service vessels play a vital role in the multi-modal network of shipping. They connect containers from the ports in the hinterland to hub ports in the country and the neighbourhood.
Sources said that a 45 per cent drop in cargo had been reported compared to last year. They expressed apprehension that the situation may worsen in the coming months.
Also, the commencement of services by main line vessels in the feedering ports had worsened the situation. The main line vessels had started to carry export cargo from these ports to the hub ports.
The decision to carry export cargo in return seems to have been taken to save on the cost of carriage of transhipment of boxes from the feedering point to the hub ports on the one hand and to reduce the shipment time on the other.
Since these main line vessels call at several ports, it had become easy for them to carry export cargo right from the feedering points, especially to Far East/West Asia destinations at lower rates, the sources said.
With several ports offering 30-50 per cent discounts to main line vessels, feeder vessels had been losing their volumes of cargo, which ultimately affected their earnings, the sources pointed out. There were no such concessions given to feeder service operators at any of the Major Ports, they lamented.