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JNPT authorities weigh changes to speedy import scheme

The direct port delivery program is part of a wide government effort to improve velocity through the Indian supply chain.

Steady growth in direct port delivery (DPD) shipments at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) amid yard capacity and other infrastructure issues is prompting changes in the speedy import procedure meant to lower logistics costs via dwell time reductions.

Customs, which spearheads the ease-of-doing-business program at India’s busiest pubic harbor, has been told to examine a proposal to scale down the timeline set for DPD traffic to 24 hours from 48 hours at present, sources in the Ministry of Shipping told JOC.com.

The move comes in the wake of new port statistics that indicate lengthening dwell times over the past few months as authorities struggled to handle DPD volume growth.

JNPT’s average dwell times for imports during August were as follows: state-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Container Terminal (JNCT), at 2 days, from 1.12 days a year earlier; APM Terminals-operated Gateway Terminals India, at 2.34 days, from 1.34 days; DP World-operated Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal (NSICT), at 2.18 days, from 1.42 days; and DP World’s minor facility Nhava Sheva (India) Gateway Terminal (NSIGT) had the highest level, at 3.22 days, versus 2.59 days previously, a JOC.com productivity analysis shows.

As a result, the port’s overall dwell times took a hit, with those figures during the month going up to 2.77 days from 2.2 days at JNCT, to 2.96 days from 2.45 days at NSICT, to 3.03 days from 2.33 days at GTI, and to 3.35 days from 2.77 days at NSIGT, according to the analysis.

Dwell time is the time taken for exports inside terminal gates to be loaded onto a ship and imports onto a truck or train. Under the DPD program, pre-approved shippers need not move their import boxes to an off-site storage yard for customs clearance, which typically involves long delays and extra costs.

Though JNPT had an 8.5 percent year-over-year throughput increase in the last month, the slower pace of import handling is worrisome as authorities push for better productivity and improved cargo velocity through new technological applications and truck-to-rail freight conversion measures.

To that effect, officials from the Ministry of Shipping during a review meeting with various stakeholders last week drew up a raft of proactive steps that call for closer coordination between terminals and railway authorities to lure more truckloads onto trains, and a plan to reduce gate-in hours for export cargo from the current four days to three days at all terminals in order to accommodate more vessel calls.

Those government efforts comes as JNPT works to set up a common trucker pool for DPD traffic on five major hinterland routes after a local court rejected the harbor trucker group’s petition challenging that move in a decision announced last month.

New data collected by JOC.com showed JNPT’s DPD traffic totaled 41,978 TEU during August, representing 30 percent of total imports, compared with 40,471 TEU, or a 28.5 percent share in the previous month.

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