Rough Waters

Policy makers are reviewing a fresh proposal outlining legislation to include the disputed terminal handling charges into the freight rate.rnrn
The Cabinet committee on economic policy is expected to resolve the dispute, ending a number of previous failed attempts. rn

rnExporters say the THC is eroding their profitability and price competitiveness, also claiming that it includes onboard expenses.rn

rnThe export industry says on average up to 15 per cent of their cost was THC, making them unattractive in the region.rn

rnA breakdown of the THC shows that upto US$ 81 of the US$ 148 levy for a 20 foot container was for discharging and loading cargo, a charge borne by the shipping lines before 1997. rn

rnIndustry sources say only about US$ 50 to US$ 60 of the THC accounted for on shore handling, while the remainder of ship related. rn

rnIndustry sources also say the shipping lines have factored in a US$ 5 profit to the THC. rn

rnTHC charges at the Colombo Port are among the highest in the region