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India’s Mundra Port battles congestion amid growing box volumes

India’s Mundra Port battles congestion amid growing box volumes

Port of Mundra

Indian importers and exporters are dealing with considerable cargo delays at Mundra Port, which leads the country’s containerised trade.

Local trade sources have raised serious concerns over the congestion plaguing Mundra’s container terminals over the past few weeks.

“The terminals at Mundra now seem to be hugely congested and the pendency (backlog) has increased to levels, which is affecting normal movement of boxes between CFSs [container freight stations] and terminals,” the Container Freight Station Association Mundra said in a complaint.

The association also noted: “All the efforts put in by CFSs are not witnessing any improvement, but are rather finding that the situation is deteriorating further.”

A change in the process of issuing port entry permits for freight vehicles by the port authority appears to be the major source of frustration for freight station owners.

According to them, truckers are facing longer waits to move in and out containers due to their inability to secure entry permits promptly.

The CFS association explained: “Vehicles are stranded on the road for hours together because of this. A corrective measure needs to be discussed with our members and worked out so as to ensure that movement continues without any hassles.”

The congestion has also left container rail operators piqued, as ICD (inland container depot) volumes represent a significant portion of Mundra’s box trade.

“There has been increased congestion at Mundra Port on account of delays at the port in terms of ability to effectively evacuate import containers in FIFO (first-in, first-out) sequence and on time, despite trains being provided for clearance by container train operators (CTOs),” Association of Container Train Operators (ACTO) said in a trade advisory.

According to ACTO: “This has led to restrictions being placed by Indian Railways on double-stack loading in order to speed up train evacuation from the port.”

The group added: “It is clearly informed to trade, port and shipping lines that the resultant levy of ground rent charges is not a result of any fault of the CTOs.”

Mundra is Adani Ports’ flagship port entity in India, with five container terminals. The private port saw 7.4 million TEUs in the fiscal year 2023-24, which was 15% higher than Nhava Sheva Port.

As volumes expand rapidly, the Adani Group is considering further investment in capacity expansion at Mundra. “We continue to invest heavily in the business to drive growth, particularly in the logistics segment,” said Adani in a recent statement.

Jenny Daniel, Global Correspondent

Source: Container News