Ship Agents Protest Nehru Port Crane Replacement Plans

Ship Agents Protest Nehru Port Crane Replacement Plans

The crane replacement program scheduled by India’s Port of Jawaharlal Nehru (Nhava Sheva) in December has sparked protests from local ship agents amid concerns that there would be “lengthy” operational disruptions if adequate alternate arrangements are not made.

The country’s largest container handler announced last week that the port-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Container Terminal would not be able to handle 15 ship calls because of the commissioning of two new rail-mounted cranes, which is expected to start Dec. 6 and last until Jan. 6, 2013, and called on ship operators to coordinate with the private terminals for ad-hoc berthing arrangements.

“It is certainly not appropriate for JN Port to ask shipping lines to approach the private terminals, especially when the port runs JNCT and is also the landlord port,” the Mumbai-Nhava Sheva Ship Agents’ Association said in a protest notice to the port chairman. “If any accommodation is required from the private facilities, it should be JN Port that should be able to enlist the same in the best possible way so that JNCT customers are not affected in any manner.”

The association, which represents the entire ship agents’ community at the ports of Mumbai and Nhava Sheva, said any disruption to berthing schedules at JN Port could adversely impact vessel sailing itineraries “all along the service routes at different ports/terminals.”

The agents’ group requested that port management take appropriate steps to minimize operational disruptions in the interest of trade.  “Our members are seriously concerned about such long disruptions,” it said.

The cranes are the first batch of equipment that the port authority ordered from Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Co., which will deliver another three super post-Panamax cranes later.

Nehru Port set a record in fiscal 2011-12, which ended March 31, by handling 4.32 million 20-foot-equivalent units, its highest-ever annual throughput.