Jawaharlal Nehru Port changes gate hours to hike productivity

Jawaharlal Nehru Port changes gate hours to hike productivity

Traffic growth at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust has stalled despite a bevy of measures meant to increase productivity.

Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust shippers have shorter gate hours to drop off and pick up cargo after India’s top container port reorganized carting times for vessels as part of its ongoing “ease of doing business” measures to shore up productivity.

At a port-user interactive session this week, the port authority announced state-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Container Terminal and DP World Nhava Sheva terminals have reduced gate hours from five days to four days while APM Terminals-operated Gateway Terminals India has been told to follow suit.

By reducing carting times, or the time in which a container can be hauled into the port for a particular sailing, JNPT will be able to handle more vessel calls, which would increase productivity and throughput.

Port officials also told attendees that inter-terminal trucking and direct port delivery operations have been successful in strengthening productivity. Direct import deliveries in October increased 34.4 percent year-over-year, and terminals processed 13,365 trucks and 17,260 gate transactions during the month through the inter-terminal program, officials said.

“The government is promoting DPD (direct port delivery) from container terminals as a major step towards reducing cost of transaction at ports. IIT has also helped in reducing the traffic on port roads up to 10 percent and optimal utilization of transport resources,” JNPT said.

The public port had to deal with heavy congestion caused by labor troubles, import volume surges, long truck turn times and intermodal bottlenecks for much of last year, at times forcing container lines to reroute vessels and discharge JNPT imports at other nearby ports at extra costs to shippers that had to get shipments to their intended destinations.

Congestion has eased considerably and cargo movements have picked up significant speed in recent months thanks to automated gate systems and a spate of proactive actions.

Those steps included an setting up an inter-terminal truck transfer system linking all terminals to speed drayage; direct port delivery services for import clearance; moving compliance agencies to within port areas for speedy cargo process; establishing new parking lots for trucks; creating a logistics data bank to track the movement of containers; introducing tariff incentives for rail cargo to drive up intermodal volumes; deploying more container scanners; refurbishing internal roads and connecting highways; and allowing gate-in of factory-stuffed export cargo without pre-customs approval. 

Despite those efforts, the port has increased volumes just 0.8 percent year-over-year in the first seven fiscal months through October amid weaker global demand and growing competition from private ports, especially Mundra, on the west coast. Mundra is nearing completion of a major expansion to double its container handling capacity to 6.6 million 20-foot-equivalent units annually.

To stay ahead of future demand, JNPT is investing heavily in capacity expansion and infrastructure upgrades. Work on a fourth container terminal awarded to Singapore’s PSA International is progressing, with Phase I expected to start operations in early 2018. When complete, the $1.3-billion project will more than double JNPT’s overall throughput capacity to nearly 10 million TEUs per year.  

The port’s other major investment plans include: Rs. 2,029 crore (roughly $305 million) on dredging to deepen its 21-mile fairway to 15 meters (about 50 feet) and Rs. 2,936 crore on a 27-mile expressway connecting terminals with the interstate highway system.