ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Tramps and Ports

Price Support or Price Rigging?
COAL PRODUCERS will have only themselves to blame if they do not accept the con- sequences of decontrol. Reports that the Joint Working Committee of the industry is considering transforming itself into a consortium to fetch higher than market prices which are justified by the demand and supply position do not augur too well. The Joint Working Committee was formed in 1961 by the several associations of mineowners to process the ill-fated foreign ex- change loan extended by the World Bank for private sector coal development. It has continued in existence mainly as a common forum to bring about some sort of reconciliation between the conflicting interests of the various mining associations, and it has been dominated by the larger collieries. Since distribution controls will be retained for the time being on deliveries to railways and steel plants, the focal point of the anticipated agreement between producers will consist of putting up a joint front against these hulk buyers. Steel plants generally get their coal from only a few better grade producers; but railways, which consume comparatively inferior grades, have to deal with a much larger number of producers who are in no position individually to bargain against the might of the railways. By combining in common interest, it would be possible for the various kinds and sizes of producers to get along together.

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