Productivity progress accelerates at India's top port

Productivity progress accelerates at India's top port

Containers continue to spend less time in yard at India's busiest container gateway.

Supply chain bottlenecks that have long been a drag on growth at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust are rapidly easing owing to closer stakeholder coordination and automation of cargo processes.

An analysis of new port productivity data by, part of IHS Markit, shows all terminals at India’s busiest container gateway lifted their productivity levels dramatically during April, the first month of fiscal year 2017 to 2018.

Average pre-berthing waiting times during the month were as follows: state-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Container Terminal (JNCT), down to 8.64 hours from 11.04 hours previously; DP World-operated Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal (NSICT), down to 0.48 hours from 0.96 hours; APM Terminals-operated Gateway Terminals India, down to 0.72 hours from 1.92 hours; and at DP World’s new facility Nhava Sheva (India) Gateway Terminal (NSIGT), that figure fell to 1.68 hours from 3.12 hours in April 2016.

The collected data shows average gross crane rates also were significantly higher, improving from 23.98 moves per hour to 24.49 moves per hour at JNCT; from 27.43 moves per hour to 33.79 moves per hour at NSICT; from 38.48 moves per hour to 41.41 moves per hour at GTI; and from 29.71 moves per hour to 43.05 moves per hour at NSIGT.

Fueled by those gains and the aggressive direct port delivery push by the Nhava Sheva (JNPT) Customs, there has been further success in reducing container dwell times at the public harbor. Overall average dwell times were down from 3.74 days in April 2016 to 2.94 days at JNCT; from 3.56 days to 2.56 days at NSICT; from 3.27 days to 2.34 days at GTI; and from 3.67 days to 2.92 days at NSIGT, according to the analysis.

Dwell times here denote the time it takes exports inside terminal gates to be loaded onto a ship and imports onto a truck or train.  

That progress was vividly reflected in JNPT’s throughput last month, which jumped 12.6 percent year-over-year to 416,436 TEU, the highest-ever monthly figure. That trend should gain further momentum in the coming months in the wake of ongoing infrastructure upgrades, especially the capacity addition of 2.4 million TEU from a fourth container terminal expected to open at the end of this year, and trade-facilitating schemes meant to speed up cargo flows.

A strong rebound in India’s foreign trade augurs well for the top port’s long-term goals. New provisional trade data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry shows the country’s merchandise exports increased nearly 20 percent year-over-year to about $24.6 billion in April, and the value of imports jumped 49 percent from a year earlier to $37.9 billion. That turnaround comes as the Narendra Modi government is aiming to push India’s share in global exports to 5 percent by 2020, compared with less than 2 percent at present.