Mumbai crane installation set to halt operations

Mumbai crane installation set to halt operations
Jawaharlal Nehru Port is India's largest container port

Shipping lines at Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNP) in Mumbai will be forced to make alternative arrangements as the port trust partially shuts down its container berths for two months from mid-October to install new quay cranes.

India’s largest container port, also known as Nhava Sheva, has suffered from intermodal rail delays in recent months;  it is now advising carriers to use the port’s private terminals, APM Terminals Mumbai and the DP World-run Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal.

Possible substitutes also include the west coast ports of Mundra, Pipavav and Hazira in the state of Gujarat, and Vallarpadam Terminal in Cochin Port for transhipment.

In a notice to customers, the port authority said: “During the installation/commissioning of three new super post-Panamax rail-mounted quay cranes alongside the main container berth and mechanisation of the shallow draught berth, normal operations alongside the main container berth are likely to be hampered from 19 October to 1 December.

Similarly, operations at the shallow draught berth are likely to be hampered from 29 October to 9 November and from 1 December to 12 December.

While the port is making appropriate arrangements to handle maximum number of vessels within the constraints, due to non-availability of adequate operational berth length in accordance with the length  of service vessels, it will not be in a position to handle nearly 22 vessels at the main container berth from 20 October to 16 December.

All the nine quay cranes, including three new units, are expected to be available for operations from mid-December.”

A backlog of inbound intermodal shipments has adversely affected JNP over the past three months, leading to congestion surcharges of between US$125 and $225 per teu for import cargo travelling to northern inland depots.

A representative of the Mumbai-Nhava Sheva Ship Agents’ Association told the Journal of Commerce: “A partial closure of the port-owned terminal, lasting two months, will hurt the trade very badly particularly when container movements are picking up.”

JNP is ranked number 33 on CM’s World Top Container Ports 2014, with a throughput of 4.1m teu in 2013; plans are in place for a US$1.3bn fourth container terminal called Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals (BMCT) to be operated by PSA International.

However, inefficiencies and delays have beset the port in recent times, with India’s non-major private ports tending to show better growth rates.