AsiaPorts and Logistics

Indian container ports struggle with extreme congestion

India’s major container ports are facing severe congestion as import containers are stacking up amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The Container Freight Stations Association of India (CFSAI) has warned that its member units in Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Mundra, Pipavav and Hazira have been removing import laden boxes that are not being cleared by importers from all terminals to nearby container freight stations (CFS).

According to the CFSAI, CFS operators have collectively evacuated over 30,000 teu from terminals at JNPT, India’s top boxport, from March 22 to April 1 despite constraints and a shortage of tractor-trailer drivers, however, importers are having difficulties of taking deliveries in the last 10 days.

“This is resulting in a pile-up of large number of import laden inventory in all the CFSs, and with only a fraction of imports being gated-out by the trade, the CFSs are facing an unprecedented challenge, and it is apprehended that in the next 3-4 days, most of the CFSs will reach their holding capacity, and evacuation from terminals will come to a halt. This inter alia would have a cascading effect on port inventory and lead to congestion in ports,” Umesh Grover, secretary-general of CFSAI said in a trade advisory.

Seperately, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone also informed that import containers are getting stacked up at the CFSs near Mundra Port.

Last week, several major Indian ports declared force majeure as the country started a three-week lockdown.

“If this continues, the container carriers will have little choice but to then discharge cargo destined for India in transshipment hubs such as Jebel Ali, Salalah and Colombo as well as stop taking bookings to main ports of India – something that will affect all cargo including vital necessities,” Danish container shipping expert Lars Jensen warned via LinkedIn today.

Many other Asian ports are struggling with coronavirus-linked congestion at the moment. Splash reported yesterday on the severe pressure supply chains are under at the port of Manila, the number one maritime gateway into the Philippines.

Jason Jiang

Jason is one of the most prolific writers on the diverse China shipping & logistics industry and his access to the major maritime players with business in China has proved an invaluable source of exclusives. Having been working at Asia Shipping Media since inception, Jason is the chief correspondent of Splash and associate editor of Maritime CEO magazine. Previously he had written for a host of titles including Supply Chain Asia, Cargo Facts and Air Cargo Week.
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