The Port labourers attached to the stevedores and short handling agents
working in major ports will be the next casualty once the Major Port Authority
Bill is adopted by the rajya sabha in the next two months and made the law of
Once the law comes into force when the ports will be converted to the
landlord model as in Kamarajar port the port adminstration will have no role in
indenting of workforce for cargo handling operations.
The fate of the age old system prevailing in all major ports with Stevedores
and shore handling agents hiring thousands of workers for handling dry bulk
cargo in non mechanized facilities hang in balance. In all probability the Stevedore
system, the last vestige of cargo handling operations of yesteryears, may be
With the ushering in
of the liberalisation era, work force in Chennai port brought down from 25,000
to 7000 at present
The Major Ports used to have several layers
of work force including those attached to the Dock labor board to work
on board the ships and clearing and forwarding workers to work on the shore.
With the ushering in of the liberalisation era, these sections have been packed
home and strength of the work force in Chennai port for example which used be
around 25,000 about ten years ago has been brought down to nearly 7,000 at
The neighboring Kamarajar port is run with a work force of less than one
hundred as the port has adopted the land lord model, under which the berths are
given on lease to private operators to handle cargo.
Stevedores and shore handling agents load and unload bulk cargo from and
onto ships from the major port trusts run non-mechanised, common user
facilities after buying licenses from the port authorities by paying an annual
fee depending on the port. These entities are engaged directly by the exporters
and importers based on competitive quotations to load and unload cargo.
The cargo berths/terminals run by the port trusts would be privatised when
they are converted under a new law currently awaiting Rajya Sabha approval.
Under the proposed
Bill, port authority to act as landlord while private firms carry out
The Port Authority which replaces the existing trust model formed under the
proposed Major Port Authorities Bill will play the role of a landlord – a model
widely followed globally wherein the publicly governed port authority acts as a
regulatory body and as landlord while private firms carry out port operations,
mainly cargo handling activities. The landlord port, in return, gets a share of the revenue from the private
“Major ports will be moving from managing their operational services on
their own to a model where a private partner will manage it for them,” Finance
Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her Budget speech on February 1.
Stevedores and shore
handling agents face threat to their existence once cargo terminals privatized
and shore handling agents have urged the Ministry of ports, shipping and
waterways to re-consider the policy to privatise the cargo terminals at
Centre-owned port trusts that are run by the State, since they faced a threat
to their existence.