India’s Port of Jawaharlal Nehru said operations at its three terminals improved considerably over the last two months. The port requested shipping lines call off their plans to levy congestion surcharges on inbound containers, slated to take effect on July 15.
“There will be congestion in any logistics business, but it is not abnormal or unprecedented congestion for the lines to levy a congestion surcharge,” said N.N. Kumar, acting port chairman.
He said the terminals are making all efforts to ensure speedy conveyance of containers to vessels for exports, and to rail and highway for import deliveries.
Cargo deliveries to container freight stations around the port and inland depots are “at normal levels,” averaging 1.72 days to container freight stations and 6.42 days to the Tughlakabad depot near Delhi, port officials said.
The backlog of inland containers at the port as of Tuesday was about 7,500 20-foot equivalent units, much lower than a couple of months ago, according to the port authority.
The port authority also denied reports that the shortage of harbor pilots was affecting vessel turnaround schedules. “The port has adequate number of pilots for serving vessels of varied tonnage and there is no berthing delay,” it said.
The port’s statement comes after some leading carriers, including APL, NYK Line and Orient Overseas Container Line, issued trade notices with congestion surcharges of $150 per TEU and $300 per FEU, citing increased operational costs.
Nehru is India’s largest container gateway, handling almost 60 percent of the country’s total containerized traffic. Volume for fiscal 2009-10 totaled a record 4.06 million TEUs, and 1.09 million TEUs for the April-June quarter.
Current expansion plans for the port include a 4-million-TEU fourth terminal and a 330-meter berth extension project, doubling annual capacity to over 8 million TEUs from 4.17 million TEUs now.