Container shipping lines are planning to increase freight rates in line with the increase in operating cost, including the continuously rising cost of bunker or fuel costs, minister of shipping G K Vasan informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply yesterday.
The cost of products/merchandise shipped is expected to increase due to increase in the freight rates, he said, adding that freight rates have been stagnant for a long time in spite of increase in fuel costs and reduced earning due to decrease in cargo volume.
The quantum of increase of freight rates would depend upon market conditions, he added.
Cargo traffic at India's 12 major ports during April-February 2011-12 was 510.8 million tonnes, up 1.59 per cent from the cargo traffic of the same period last year, he said, adding that this was achieved despite the slowdown in the global economy.
Addressing the consultative committee attached to his ministry, Vasan said, at the overall commodity level during April–February 2011-12, coal, container, other cargo, fertilisers and fertiliser raw materials and POL cargo posted growth of 9.4 per cent, 6.7 per cent, 5.9 per cent, 1.9 per cent and 0.2 per cent, respectively.
During April-February 2011-12, Ennore Port recorded the highest growth in traffic at 47 per cent while Cochin Port stood second with 13.7 per cent growth, followed by VO Chidambarnar Port at Tuticorin (13.2 per cent).