India's two biggest ports, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port and Mumbai Port, conducted limited operations on Friday.
This after the port was forced to close down following the collision of two ships, the MSC Chitra and Khalijia-3, Aug. 7.
Salvagers cleared about 60 of the 300 containers that fell off of the MSC Chitra and spilled into the main channel of Mumbai Harbor, blocking the entrance to both ports.
Vessels with a draft of less than 30 feet were being allowed to enter and leave JNPT Friday during high tide and under naval escort.
"Unless the Navy scans the channels and finds it completely clear of containers, normal operations cannot resume," N. Maharana, operations head at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, told Bloomberg News.
Mumbai Port has also begun limited operations, said H. Khatri, a deputy director at the government's Directorate of Shipping, who is overseeing the clearance operations. He declined to comment on when the work may be completed.
The preliminary investigation of the collision by police and port authorities indicated that the captain of Khalijia-3 was more at fault than the captain of MSC Chitra, according to the Times of India.
The police had taken videos of both the ships and also done on-the-spot inspection and found that Captain Laxman Dubey was more at fault. NN Kumar, the JNPT chairman, said there was no reason for Khailijia 3 to change its course and Chitra was following its own course.
The government aims to have all of the containers cleared by tomorrow, paving the way for the resumption of normal operations at JNPT and the neighboring Mumbai Port, which together handle about 40 percent of India's exports. A three-day shutdown of the ports following the Chitra collision stranded about $4 billion of overseas shipments, according to the Federation of Indian Export Organizations.
By The Numbers: U.S. Container Trade With India.
Two vessels left Jawaharlal Nehru Port Thursday and three docked there. Other vessels have been diverted to Mundra and Kandla ports.
The Chitra had 1,219 containers on board, of which 31 held hazardous chemicals and pesticides, when it collided with the Khalijia-3 on Aug. 7.
-- Contact Peter T. Leach at email@example.com.