Capacity utilization & up gradation of Port Infrastructure

Recent developments at Gateway and other terminals at JNPT will have cost implication for shippers and it has left them seeking for alternate hub for export cargoes. The port of JNPT as a whole is congested and running beyond its capacity. The sordid state of affairs is reflected in increased waiting time for berth, time at berth and overall turnaround time. The service parameters create financial implication for both liners and shippers; as a result it is obvious to look for alternate solution.

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But, where will they go?

The adjoining terminals are faring no better, and faces the same problem of congestion, increasing turnaround time. NSCIT, JNPCT are already running to capacity and have no space and berthing available to accommodate any surge in volume.

The combined capacity of JNPT container terminals is around 4.1 million TEUs per annum and their utilization rates exceeds cent per cent. Past data reveals that JNPT handled more than 4.3 million TEUs.

The capacity addition as planned by JNPT in form of mega box terminal or the fourth terminal at JNPT has been marred by backing out of initial bidders citing different reasons. The container terminal has been floated again for 2nd time and even in the best of scenario, it will take around 3-4 years for it to be operational.

The Mumbai Port in the vicinity offers no respite as it suffers the same problem of congestion and poor service parameters.

The loss for some could be opportunity for others, provided that they are well prepared and ready for that opportunity. Who has such capacity to spare? The question every port eying a traffic snatch needs to answer and plan for. Under present available infrastructure it is natural for shippers as well as liner to opt for Gujrat ports of Mundra and likes. Mundra Port has a capacity of 4.0 Million TEUs at its 03 container terminals one operated by DP World terminals and other two by Adani. These terminals as a whole operate near 70 % utilization level. The south basin terminal has a quay length of 810 meters and drafts exceed 15 meters. It is capable of handling larger and larger vessels and its capacity can be expanded to 5 million TEUs in future.

The additional capacity and ready infrastructure not only enables Mundra port to provide priority berthing but also strengthen its reputation by helping to capture volume surges with consistent service quality.

The winning strategy for terminals is not to bleed the existing infrastructure to choke point but to operate at an optimum level which most experts believe is close to 70% and build additional infrastructure and facilities as the regular volumes catches up with the threshold.

Photo Courtesy: APM Terminals, Mumbai

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