The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways have said that all charges levied by major port trusts, including vessel related charges and storage charges, will be waived off. This decision will impact all the major ports of India, including the Kamarajar Port in Chennai. The ministry has also asked the ports to accord highest priority in berthing sequence to consignments related to oxygen.
All major ports will waive off charges on ships carrying the following items:
- Medical grade oxygen
- Oxygen tanks
- Oxygen bottles
- Portable oxygen generators
- Oxygen concentrators
- Steel Pipes for manufacturing oxygen cylinders and associated equipment for the next three months, or until further orders
The Centre has asked port chairpersons to personally supervise logistic operations to ensure that such consignments move unhindered. Such vessels will be given top priority in the port and unloading of oxygen related cargo, coordination with customs and other authorities for speedy clearance/documentation and expeditious evacuation of oxygen related cargo from port will be ensured..
If the vessel is carrying cargo in addition to oxygen related items, then waiver of charges will be on a pro-rata basis. The ministry will monitor details of such vessels, cargo and time taken in the port from entry to exit from the port gate.
"Government of India is deeply engaged in handling the crisis related to the second wave of COVID-19 in the country and taking all steps to counter the situation through appropriate and innovative measures," stated the ministry.
This announcement comes a day after the government decided to waive off health cess and basic customs duty on oxygen and oxygen-related equipment.