Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), India’s largest public port, ended financial year 2017-2018 with record volumes, handling 4.83 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs), a year-on year (y-o-y) growth of 7.4%. The growth in volumes was led by APM Terminals-operated Gateway Terminals India, whose yearly traffic surged 13% y-o-y to 2.03 million TEUs.
The port-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Container Terminal (JNCT) registered a 3.4% y-o-y decline, to 1.48 million TEUs. JNCT’s ship calls also fell to 438, from 473 in the previous year.
DP World Nhava Sheva-controlled Nhava Sheva India Gateway Terminal (NSIGT) saw volumes surge 48% y-o-y to 659,400 TEUs. New concessionaire BMCT, which opened full-fledged operations in early February this calendar year, loaded and discharged 23,212 TEUs in its first two months.
Statistics released by radio frequency identification (RFID) services provider DMICDC Logistics Data Services shows there has been a substantial reduction in JNPT dwell times (the duration a ship berths at the terminal). Of all the terminals, the latest data, available for February, showed APM Terminals Mumbai had the least dwell time, with an average dwell time of 41 hours, down from 45.8 hours in January. The overall JNPT dwell time for February improved to 47 hours from 48 hours in the month of January 2018.
The use of a RFID container tracking service has helped in meeting shippers’ expectations regarding end-to-end visibility of their supply chain. The tagging and tracing of cargo empowers shippers to keep a tab on goods while in transit through the port, right till the inland container depots, freight stations and right up till the end users. This has also helped to reduce the cost of logistics operations while simultaneously improving the predictability of the cargo and creating an optimal route for it.
Nonetheless, JNPT faces increasing competition from private ports such as Adani-owned Mundra and Hazira. Anil Devli, CEO, Indian Shipowners’ Association (INSA), said JNPT needs to take more steps to remain competitive. He said, “The two private ports have the terminals and they have the necessary cargo support. The terminals are also part of shipping lines. In Mundra, you have MSC themselves operating a terminal which is the second largest shipping company in the world. In Hazira, you have CMA, which is the third largest. I think JNPT will have to be more proactive in trying to attract these larger companies to come with larger vessels, so they need to improve their move count.”
Separately, Maersk India on Tuesday said India’s export-import growth outdid some of the world’s largest economies to register 9% y-o-y growth in FY18. Indian exports jumped from 1% y-o-y growth in the first quarter to 14% y-o-y growth in the fourth quarter, registering a strong turn-around. In fact, India’s 12-month import-export growth closed at 9%, compared with the global growth average of 4%, cementing the country’s position as being amongst the fastest growing major markets worldwide.
According to Steve Felder, MD, Maersk India, a case in point is the turnaround in India’s trade with North America which grew at double the pace, compared to 2016. Felder said, “As the local market stabilises further, we expect to see more of such wins in 2018, and are looking forward to participating in and indeed enabling the India growth story.”
India’s containerised auto exports benefited the country’s western region, catering mainly to Egypt and Nigeria, registering a growth of 5%, y-o-y in 2017-18. Containerisation in India currently stands at 55% of the country’s total import-export trade, and is expected to grow significantly in the years to come. One of the propellers of this trend is expected to be increasing containerisation of India-made automobiles, which helped grow India’s overall auto exports by 20% in 2017-18, headed mainly for the US, Algeria and Russia.