Hyundai Motor Company is now using ships to move its cars across domestic markets to save on costs and reduce carbon footprint.
As many as 800 cars were loaded on to the M.V. IDM Symex, a roll-on-roll-off (RoRo) vessel, at the Chennai Port on Saturday. The cargo will be unloaded at Pipavav Port in Gujarat, Chennai Port Deputy Chairman Cyril C. George said.
Though Hyundai had been using Chennai Port for exporting cars, this is the first time it is transporting its cargo through the sea for domestic market.
Trade sources said it takes normally three to four days for the car manufacturer to move vehicles from the production centres near Chennai to Gujarat region through trailers.
However, shipping them is seen as eco-friendly and low-cost as the Centre had promised to provide incentive of Rs.3,000 per car to those using coastal route.
Talking to The Hindu, Mr. George said: “It is yet another initiative of the Mission Resurge – Chennai Port. It is also in line with the Shipping Ministry’s policy of encouraging coastal shipping, reducing carbon foot print and also addressing the traffic congestion issue at the port. It is also the first time that cars are being moved from the east coast to west coast.”
After flagging off the maiden service, Chennai Port Trust officials are also talking to other OEMs such as Nissan and Ford to start using the coast for transporting cargo.
“To encourage the OEMs to use our services, we have announced a flat wharfage rate of Rs.500 per small car and Rs.2,000 for big cars. Also the wharfage for RoRo vessels using coastal route has been reduced by 40 per cent of normal tariff. This decision was taken within a day,” said Chennai Port Chairman M.A. Bhaskarachar.
Kamarajar Port, which recently overtook Chennai Port in car exports, is also thinking in a similar direction. “Usually, coal, fertilizers, iron ore, petroleum products and cement are moved from one port to another. Now, we are asking the OEMs to move cars from southern ports to western ports. This will result in removing sizeable number of trailers off road, reduce carbon footprint and fuel consumption,” Mr. Bhaskarachar said.
Vessel owner Symex Maritime Inc. has been granted permission by the Directorate General of Shipping to carry out coastal run for five years. IDM Symex will be used to transport cars manufactured mainly by Hyundai and other manufacturers.
To make it viable, Symex is in discussion with exporters and importers to ship other commodities during the return trip to Chennai.
“This is not the first time that Chennai Port is using coastal movement. It made similar attempts some two years back. But it was a flop. Here too, Hyundai used trailers to move vehicles to Chennai Port and from sPipavav Port to dealers’ destination. Though the Centre has promised to provide some incentive, it is to be seen how much is going to be passed to the car manufacturers,” a trader said.