Traffic volume at major ports inches up

Container throughput at India’s major, state-owned ports showed a modest increase in the first three fiscal quarters from a year earlier as sluggish global demand continues to weigh heavily on the country’s foreign trade.

Port statistics compiled show major ports handled 1.65 percent more containers from April to December over the same period in 2014, with volumes reaching 6.1 million 20-foot-equivalent units. Containerized cargo tonnage was up 1.5 percent year-over-year to 91.2 million tons.

Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, India’s biggest public container handler, saw its throughput remain relatively static in the nine-month period, at 3.36 million TEUs, compared with 3.35 million TEUs during April to December 2014.

Of that, Gateway Terminals India, or APMT Mumbai, accounted for 1.39 million TEUs, down 6.9 percent from 1.49 million TEUs, while DP World Nhava Sheva moved 800,737 TEUs via its flagship Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal, a fall of 7.9 percent, and 105,647 TEUs through Nhava Sheva (India) Gateway Terminal, the Dubai-based group’s new facility in the harbor.

Volume at port-run Jawaharlal Nehru Container Terminal was up 7.9 percent during April through December to 1.06 million TEUs, the latest data shows.

Disruptions and delays associated with labor troubles continue to be a serious concern for shippers and ocean carriers using terminals at JNPT. After the port and related stakeholders frantically worked for months to overcome congestion brought on by off-and-on labor stoppages in the first half of last year, a group of unionized workers employed at DP World Nhava Sheva abruptly walked off the job last week, reportedly to press for wage improvements.

The latest labor action entered its 10th day on Friday, and the Dubai-based company maintains it is working toward a resolution through intervention with appropriate authorities.

The collected data shows throughput at the Chennai port inched down 1 percent year-over-year during April-December to 1.17 million TEUs, apparently the result of supply chain disruptions caused by heavy rains and flooding in the southern port city in early December.

Terminals at JNPT and Chennai together load roughly 80 percent of the containers passing through India’s 12 major ports.

During the first three quarters, other India major ports reported throughput numbers as follows: Kolkata, up 1.7 percent from 479,000 TEUs to 487,000 TEUs; Tuticorin, or V.O. Chidambaranar, up 9 percent from 408,000 TEUs to 445,000 TEUs; Cochin through DP World-operated Vallarpadam International Transshipment Terminal, up 9 percent from 281,000 TEUs to 306,000 TEUs; and Visakhapatnam, up 12 percent from 188,000 TEUs to 210,000 TEUs, according to the latest figures.

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