India’s Port of Jawaharlal Nehru (Nhava Sheva) disputed reports that crane replacement at the port-run terminal was done proper planning and prior consultations with users as well as other stakeholders.
“The acquisition of three new rail-mounted quay cranes was preplanned and stakeholders who attend periodical operational review meetings were well aware of the port’s contingency plans during crane installation,” the port authority said.
The authority’s clarification came in response to a recent statement from the Western India Shippers’ Association, blaming a “lack of communication” from the port for the current operational turmoil and traffic diversion.
The country’s largest container port said it had put in place adequate alternate arrangements to ensure operations at the terminals were least affected and throughput did not suffer because of the equipment modernization program.
“This is reflective of the fact that the actual cargo tonnage in July has been higher than what the port handled in June,” the authority said.
Officials said WISA’s concerns were primarily a result of misunderstandings between shippers and their respective ocean carriers, and port management was not at fault.
“Despite having made special arrangements with the two private terminals for the handling of 19 vessels that were likely to be affected, some of the liners deemed it fit to divert cargo to other ports (which they are free to do and which the port cannot prevent)”.
Nehru also said it’s not in a position to influence or question decisions “reportedly” made by some carriers to levy congestion surcharges on the trade.
“But whenever a complaint of congestion surcharge is brought to our notice, we have consistently taken action demanding the liners not to do so as there is no congestion”.
Meanwhile, Hapag-Lloyd said the current Indamex vessel CMA-CGM Puget, which berthed at Nhava Sheva Aug. 1, could not complete operations and is now scheduled to re-berth Aug. 5 before sailing to Mundra, the next port call.
Nehru handles more than 60 percent of India’s total containerized traffic, having racked up a record throughput of 4.27 million 20-foot equivalent units in fiscal 2010-11 ended March 31.