Traffic rises at major Indian ports as productivity efforts proceed

Traffic rises at major Indian ports as productivity efforts proceed

Traffic rose at India's busiest port in August and was flat at its second-busiest harbor.

India’s major state-owned ports booked healthy growth in container volumes in August, expanding 5.7 percent compared with the same month in 2015 as the ports work to increase their productivity and reduce chronic bottlenecks to protect market share from private competitors.

The country’s 12 major ports handled a combined volume of 718,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units during the month, up from 679,000 TEUs in August 2015, according to the newest provisional port statistics compiled by JOC.com. Containerized cargo tonnage rose 3.7 percent to 10.5 million tonnes (11.5 million tons) from 10.1 million tonnes.

The four terminals at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, India’s biggest container gateway, together moved 377,155 TEUs in August, up 4.3 percent year-over-year, representing more than 50 percent of the nation’s total containerized freight via major ports.

Chennai Port’s throughput in August was relatively flat year-over-year, at 128,000 TEUs, reflecting a gradual return to normal traffic trends after truck bottlenecks and productivity issues drove some of the carriers away from the public harbor to nearby private terminals such as Kattupalli and Krishnapatnam.

JNPT and Chennai together load the lion’s share of India’s containerized shipments moving through major public ports.

On a fiscal year-to-date basis, from April to August, volumes were up 4.3 percent to 3.55 million TEUs from 3.4 million TEUs in the same period of 2015, statistics show.

Of that, JNPT contributed 1.9 million TEUs, up 1.85 percent from 1.87 million TEUs a year earlier. By terminal, the latest figures for the five-month period were as follows: APM Terminals-operated Gateway Terminals India, down 0.5 percent from 749,833 TEUs to 746,075 TEUs; DP World’s Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal, down 35 percent from 498,256 TEUs to 324,307 TEUs; and port-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Container Terminal, up 22.5 percent from 583,812 TEUs to 657,990 TEUs, while volume at Nhava Sheva (India) Gateway Terminal, DP World’s new facility, totaled 174,410 TEUs, compared with 36,332 TEUs in the same period last year when the terminal was partially operational.

In a trade advisory issued this week, JNPT said terminals processed 20,639 trucks and 21,750 gate transactions in August via its “inter-terminal truck transfer” procedure designed to speed drayage. The top port said shipper response also has been building up on its direct port delivery scheme for import cargo, with DPD transactions reaching 6,659 TEUs in August, the highest-ever monthly volume. Most notably, the port’s radio frequency identification technology-based logistics data bank system allowing exporters and importers to track their goods while in transit began operations in full last month, according to the advisory.

Statistics show Chennai booked a 5.5 percent year-over-year throughput decline in the first five fiscal months, handling 632,000 TEUs, compared with 669,000 TEUs a year earlier.

Five-month container volumes at other major ports were as follows: Kolkata, up 19.5 percent from 268,000 TEUs to 317,000 TEUs; Tuticorin, or V.O. Chidambaranar, up 4.5 percent from 260,000 TEUs to 272,000 TEUs; Cochin (Vallarpadam), up 21 percent from 167,000 TEUs to 202,000 TEUs; and Visakhapatnam, up 42 percent from 110,000 TEUs to 156,000 TEUs, according to the collected data.

The volume increases come as India lined up heavy investments in new berths, port-related rail projects, dredging, equipment upgrades, mechanization, and automation of cargo processes at major ports as part of its Sagar Mala program.