Mumbai: The Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) has permitted the berthing of dry bulk cargo vessels at its Offshore Container Terminal (OCT) on trial basis after demands by ship agents, an official said here on Saturday.
The first cargo ship, Malta-flagged MV Julia Oldendroff, was berthed on September 1 and sailed out on Saturday after unloading its cargo steel cold rolled coils.
A Marshall Islands ship, MV Interlink Fidelity, with a similar cargo will be berthed later on Saturday at the OCT in Indira Docks of MbPT, said Captain Manish Sharma, Head of Operations at Indira Container Terminal Pvt. Ltd.
This has fulfilled a long-standing demand of the Mumbai and Nhava Sheva Ship Agents Association (MANSA) to overcome congestion at the MbPT.
"The congestion for berths at MbPT has resulted in delays for vessels and also affected their turnaround time. We welcome the proactive steps towards ease of doing business," said MANSA President Captain Vivek Anand.
In December last year, the MANSA has sought berthing facilities at the OCT for higher dimensional vessels carrying large volumes of pulses, steel and general cargo.
In a letter to the MbPT Chairman, MANSA said the vessels carrying large parcels cannot be accommodated and required to be lightened at an earlier point.
Even after lightening, it was difficult for them (such over dimensional vessels) to be accommodated at the harbour wall berths since they occupied more than one berth and blocked all the remaining berths for other vessels, leading to congestion.
It had demanded that such over dimensional vessels should be allowed to berth at the OCT as a special case to avoid undue congestion.
The effective utilisation of the OCT berths will help the MbPT's process to repair the harbour wall berths along with maintenance dredging, Captain Anand said.
Promoted by Gammon Group, the OCT is the first and single-largest container terminal project in MbPT under the build-operatate-transfer scheme. It has a 700 metres quay length in the first phase which will be extended to 1,050 subsequently.
Established in 1977, MANSA members account for 85 per cent of the cargo handled at all ports in India.