Zim Line, a shipping firm in Israel, has approached the port authorities seeking permission to idle their vessels off Kochi.
Considering the slump witnessed in the global shipping operations of late, there have been enquiries from foreign shipowners requesting for facilities to lay up vessels at several of the Indian ports. A senior official in Kochi port told Business Line that Zim Line, a shipping firm in Israel, has approached the port authorities seeking permission to idle their vessels off Kochi. This firm might have approached other ports asking for a similar facility, he said.
However, the official pointed out that either Kochi or any other major port in the country could not at present provide such facility for lay-up or anchorage due to the congestion faced in Indian ports. Moreover, the lay-up facility will not be financially viable for ports and there will be additional burden to monitor these ships round-the-clock.
On the rise
He pointed out that the laying up of container vessels is on the rise as there are about 200 container ships which were idling, threatening the survival of several shipping companies. The container charter owners have now started to idle scores of vessels for extended periods as the hire rates have reached new lows. It is estimated that 8.8 per cent of the world fleet has been without work from mid-February.
With no work, the official said it is more economical to lay up ships rather than run them as a means of minimising the losses. However, from a working port"s point of view, the main revenue is from pilotage and not from berth hire.