The Shipping Ministry slashed port tariff rates by 60-70% for cruise ships for a year as a part of freight rationalization exercise. This move is aimed to boost and provide the needed relief to the cruise industry in India, which has been impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Minister of Shipping, Mansukh Mandaviya, said: “It will be big support for the cruise tourism in India, which has suffered tremendously due to the adverse economic impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.” He continued: “It will provide the opportunity to earn a huge amount of foreign exchange and generate sizeable direct and indirect onshore employment in the cruise tourism sector of India.”
The proposed changes to the port charges for a cruise
The proposed changes include the port charges for a cruise ship will be charged $0.085 per GRT (Gross Registered Tonnage) instead of USD 0.35 of the current rate, for the first 12 hours stay (‘ Fixed Rate’) and USD 5 per passenger (‘Head Tax’). Cruise ships would not be charged for other rates like berth hire, port dues, passenger fee by the ports. The fixed charges on cruise ships will be equal to the Berth Hire charges payable as per SOR(Schedule of Rates)(With 40% discount as applicable for cruise ships), for the time exceeding 12 hours stay.
The number of calls made by cruise ships in India has increased to 593 in 2019-2020 compared to 128 in 2015-2016. The statement also said that this rationalization would help ensure that cruise calls at Indian ports do not dry up completely. Further, as a part of the latest changes, cruise ships making 1 to 50 calls at Indian ports per year will get a 10% rebate while those making 51-100 calls per year will get 20% and 30% rebate for those making above 100 calls per year.