The year 2016 was tumultuous for the global shipping industry, as carriers were prone to financial pressures. This was true especially the first three quarters of 2016, due to factors such as freight rates dipping to their lowest levels since 2009, Mergers and acquisitions, new alliances and the Hanjin bankruptcy, one of the largest container shipping bankruptcies in history.
In 2017, however, ocean freight rates showed an upward trend due to factors such as supplier consolidation and slower capacity growth. Even though carriers have consolidated, the overcapacity in the market is expected to remain in 2017 due to the slippages in 2016, but higher bunker costs and increased pricing power from the liners would provide an up thrust to freight rates. Hence, It seems that finally the clouds will pave way for the sun to shine over the shipping trade.
In 2016-2017, the TEUs handled by the Kolkata port showed a growth of 16.41%, from 6,62,891 TEUs to 7,71,676 TEUs. KOPT ranked 3rd among major Indian ports in terms of container traffic handled in 2016-2017. KOPT handled 3431 ships – the highest among Indian major ports.” However, the KOPT still remains plagued with infrastructural constraints and lack of facilities. If the esteemed authorities do not take up the task of developing a deep sea port, the shippers would be forced to look for opportunities elsewhere, seriously affecting the trade traffic at the port.” said RAJIV AGARWALL CHAIRMAN, CALCUTTA FREIGHT BROKER ASSOCIATION. He added “the market being dynamic and competitive continues to throw new challenges for our profession everyday. In order to survive in these market conditions, we need to look to expand the portfolio of services provided to the clients and strive for continuous improvement and customer satisfaction. Let us spread our wings, push our boundaries because sky is the limit.”
Talking about GST He said, “In view of implementation of GST with effect from 1st July 2017, as freight brokers we fall under the purview of service providers and are supposed to raise our bills on shipping companies charging appropriate amount of GST. This is mandatory and cannot be avoided. Various shipping companies have been following different methods of brokerage payment, some make payments through self-generated statements, this needs to be reviewed and revised.As service providers, we are subject to GST rules and have to adhere by timely submission of monthly returns and payment of GST to Government. Of course, shipping companies shall get input tax credit on the GST paid to us. We request all the shipping companies to formulate the procedure of brokerage bills submission by brokers and convey the same as soon as possible.”