The port-terminal authorities at Chennai, India’s second-largest container gateway, temporarily suspended export cargo movements and scaled back vessel handling as congestion at its two marine terminals reached a critical level.
“In order to ease the current situation a bit, eventually with no other options, there will be a complete stoppage of exports from Oct. 13 through Oct. 16,” a representative of the Chennai Steamer Agents’ Association said.
The decision came at a recent meeting with stakeholders to identify measures to tackle the worsening port situation that spurred surcharge announcements by ocean carriers and cargo diversion by shippers. A leading shipping line agent at Chennai said the closure and restrictions could lead to serious berthing delays and schedule disruptions for vessels calling at the southeastern hub.
According to a port update as of Thursday morning, the terminal yard inventory totaled 18,500 20-foot equivalent units with imports accounting for about 13,500 TEUs. Under pressure from trade associations, Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan intervened last week and directed the authority to address port clogging problems through more coordinated efforts.