Ocean carriers serving India’s Port of Chennai said they will consider lifting their bottleneck surcharges if restrictions on cargo movements and berthing delays are avoided at the country’s leading container gateway.
The announcement was made by representatives of the Chennai Steamer Agents’ Association at a recent meeting with the port authorities to review operational and infrastructure issues.
The association represents the entire ship agents’ community at the southeastern port. At the meeting, authorities said they are working on a string of measures to speed truck flow and expand intermodal connections.
The measures include allotment of five separate truck lanes at Zero Gate — three for imports and two for exports; open Gate 5 during night hours; and deploy two private rail operators in addition to state-owned Container Corporation of India. Officials also said port management will approach local customs authorities for reactivating en masse container movements from the terminals.
Port clogging problems at Chennai followed a series of wildcat strikes by harbor truck drivers from end-June to mid-July to protest increased vehicle turnaround times, creating a huge import backlog.
“We are now convinced that the port-terminal authorities are making all possible efforts to sort out the situation and hence, it is imperative that we support them,” CSAA representatives said.
Chennai has two terminals: DP World-managed Chennai Container Terminal and the Chennai International Terminals operated by Singapore's PSA International. Total volume for fiscal 2010-11 ended March 31 was estimated at 1.52 million TEUs and at 914,000 TEUs for the April-October period.