Weeks before HBT exit, KoPT planned four-pronged strategy

As the labour unrest was going on at Haldia dock, the Kolkata Port Trust Authorities (KoPT) had chalked out the plan of what to do in the event of HBT, the cargo-handling firm, pulling out from Bengal.

In a letter sent to Union Ministry of Shipping on October 10 21 days before the HBT's exit the KoPT suggested four steps to tackle the situation. The status report mentions that KOPT will terminate the contract with the HBT and seek tenders to hire old cranes on a short-term basis of six months.

Secondly, the KOPT will allow operations of geared vessels at berth 2 and 8, and the importer and exporters will engage their own agents for handling the cargo including storage and delivery of the cargo.

The report stated that in the event of continuation of impasse, two options exist either KOPT terminates the contract or continue the contract on mutually agreed terms . Hence KOPT may discuss fresh terms for hire of cranes only with HBT, it stated.

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