Efficiency has become the dominant buzzword among terminals at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) as ocean carriers vigorously pursue their quest to reduce operating costs in a fiercely competitive market.
JNPT handles the majority of India’s containerized trade and is the focal point of long-haul calls to and from the emerging market economy.
A new record call size at DP World’s “futuristic” Nhava Sheva (India) Gateway Terminal (NSIGT) is just the latest example of that effort to impress liner clients. NSIGT notched 4,568 container moves (6,017 TEU of combined exports and imports) in about 33 hours when it serviced MSC Perle last week, with a gross berth productivity of 141.14 moves per hour, DP World Nhava Sheva officials told JOC.com. That lifting broke the previous best of 4,433 moves (5,025 TEU) NSIGT booked during a 2017 call from MV Bernadette.
The 13,092-TEU MSC Perle has been deployed in Mediterranean Shipping Company’s independent Himalaya Express (HEX) service between India and Europe. The weekly HEX operates with eight 13,000-TEU vessels on a full port rotation of Colombo, Nhava Sheva (JNPT), Mundra, King Abdullah, Gioia Tauro, Felixstowe, Hamburg, Antwerp, Le Havre, and back to Colombo.
“This achievement [on MSC Perle] is a testament to the cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art infrastructure that enables the terminal to deliver higher productivity and ensure better standards,” DP World officials said.
NSIGT, which officially opened in February 2016, is one of the two terminal concessions DP World holds at JNPT, the other being its adjoining sister unit, Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal (NSICT). NSIGT features a 1,083-foot quay, a draft of 44 feet, a 68-acre storage yard, four rail-mounted quay cranes, and 12 rubber-tire gantry cranes, with an annual capacity of 1 million TEU.
The global terminal giant has lately prioritized operations at the new terminal as part of a strategy to sidestep long-running royalty payment and tariff issues plaguing NSICT, which pioneered the build-operate-transfer (BOT) development model at Indian ports in 1997.
With that operational rejigging, NSIGT has increased the number of its weekly mainline calls to seven and steadily captured more market share at the port. As a result, NSICT’s volume during fiscal 2017-2018 slid 12 percent to 641,122 TEU, whereas throughput at NSIGT surged 48 percent year over year to 659,400 TEU during the same period, according to statistics collected by JOC.com.
“At DP World, we believe in providing efficient and reliable flow of goods and services through high productivity. Our terminal, NSIGT, is equipped with advanced technology, which provides safe, quick, and efficient operations in cargo handling,” Jibu K. Itty, DP World Nhava Sheva’s newly appointed CEO, told JOC.com. “We also appreciate the dedicated efforts of the port trust directed towards improving marine infrastructure at the port, which further enables us to handle large-sized vessels and increase utilization.”
A study by radio-frequency identification (RFID) services provider DMICDC Logistics Data Services (DLDS) also found that NSIGT logged the shortest average dwell time — the time it takes for export cargo inside terminal gates to be loaded onto a ship and import cargo onto a truck or train — at JNPT during December at 40.3 hours. That was a near 11 percent improvement on the 45.1-hour performance reported in November.
What’s more, NSIGT boasts a raft of other “firsts” to its credit at JNPT: the largest-ever container ship call at an Indian port with the 13,000-TEU MSC Cristina in April 2017; an advanced, optical character recognition (OCR) technology-based gate solution; and a seamless, 110-ton breakbulk/oversize cargo operation on MSC Sola, another vessel deployed in the HEX service, in April 2018.
The deployment of larger ships, intended to tap into greater economies of scale, generally translates into more cargo being delivered on fewer calls, and, as such, carriers and alliances have in recent years gravitated toward terminals that offer the highest productivity. This tendency has resulted a flurry of service changes at JNPT after PSA International opened its 2.4 million-TEU Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals (BMCT) in February 2018.