Container terminals at Nhava Sheva Port (JNPT), India’s busiest public gateway, have been hit by congestion and are “working well beyond our capacity”.
The problems stem from the drastic capacity reduction at APM Terminals Mumbai, which accounts for the majority of export/import shipments passing through the gateway.
Sources noted that the number of weekly services handled by APMT Mumbai, also known as Gateway Terminals India (GTI), has been reduced from the normal 13 calls to six due to the closure of a berth for crane upgrades.
“Demand for overflow berths has made it difficult to flow through other terminals,” said an agent for the shipping company.
“Due to carriers’ constant changes in gate cut-offs, export movements have taken a hit, resulting in potentially missed connections and cargo rollovers for shippers,” the source added.
PSA Mumbai has restricted berth windows for ad hoc service calls, according to carrier sources, adding to the pain while DP World’s two facilities are already full.
“We are working well beyond our capacity,” said a DP World Nhava Sheva official.
Some shippers have opted to offload Nhava Sheva containers at alternative ports, mainly Mundra, in recent days, leading to predictable costs and other consequences for importers.
The equipment installation and commissioning program at GTI – which includes six ship-to-shore cranes and three rail-mounted gantry cranes – began late last month and is expected to be completed in early September.
Freight forwarding sources have raised other potential supply chain issues as the impact of congestion mounts.
“Export gate-in times may decrease and truck wait times may increase due to road crunch,” they said. “In addition, there is a risk of container shortages, since the inflow of empties is limited.”
APMT said it was using “all the resources at its disposal” to mitigate the disruption. A spokesman said: “Our teams are working closely together to enable maximum calls at a berth by reducing vessel idle times, increasing operational efficiencies and being flexible to ensure as little impact as possible for each of the services.
“Most of our customers have been informed of our planned infrastructure development and we continue to communicate with them on a regular basis,” she added.
APMT also noted that the $115 million Fit-for-Future project announced last February would “significantly increase berth productivity,” driving vessel turnaround and operating cost benefits for the shipping company’s customers.
When the new cranes come into operation, the company says its throughput capacity will increase by 10% to 2.2 million TEUs per year and will also allow it to service larger vessels in the 14,000 TEU range, up from a current maximum of 12,000 TEUs.