Maldives Ports Limited (MPL) has inaugurated a semi-CFS operations service in the Male’ Commercial Harbour intended to accommodate goods facing delays due to unforeseen complications in response to the concerns of small traders, who often combine their imports into a single container.
According to MPL’s CEO, Shahid Ali, delays in clearing even one particular item previously resulted in the entire container incurring substantial fees. “When a single package isn’t cleared, we impose a demurrage charge on the whole container. The repercussions are particularly severe for small businesses. Such a service has been a request from the business community since 2019,” Shahid remarked.
The essence of this delay also poses challenges for shipping lines, emphasising the need for a streamlined process. With the additional storage capacity, MPL aims to expedite the cargo clearance process, ensuring traders avoid hefty container fees.
Tholhath Saeed, the General Manager of MPL, provided further insights into the storage specifics. “The current capacity stands at 550 cubic metres (CBM) of goods, translating to around 16 containers,” he stated. He further elaborated on the cost benefits, pointing out the stark contrast between the container fee of USD 35 a day compared to MPL’s storage fee of MVR 26 per CBM daily. “If goods remain uncleared for a couple of days, businesses could face charges upwards of USD 150 in contrast to a mere MVR 300 within MPL’s facility,” added Mr Saeed.
In terms of capacity and future adaptability, MPL has a two-month observation plan in place. If capacity concerns arise during this period, they assure stakeholders of the availability of more space within the port.
Additionally, as the government focuses on port development at Gulhifalhu, provisions will be made for similar services. Presently, an average of 187 cargo containers are processed daily at the MPL port.