LCL Logistix, the Indian arm of Hong Kong-based FPS network of independent forwarders and NVOCCs, has opened a container freight station (CFS) at Haldia dock.

This is the company’s third such outfit in India, the two others being located at Pipavav (Gujarat) and Nhava Sheva (Maharashtra).

The Haldia CFS has an annual capacity of 25,000 TEUs.

With this, the total number of CFSs at Haldia goes up to three, the two others belonging to AL Logistics and APJ Infra Logistics.

Central Warehousing Corporation too has an outfit at Haldia but it does not handle containers. It is used more as a warehouse for various other commodities. AL Logistics has been in operation for the past 10 years, while APJ Infra Logistics and LCL Logistix were set up recently.

Container throughput

Interestingly, the new CFS facilities have been created at a time when the container throughput at Haldia is not posting any impressive growth.

Inquiries reveal that the throughput in February was less than that in January. Cumulatively, the throughput so far has been around 1,28,470 TEUs, recording a marginal growth over 1,28,323 TEUs recorded in the same period last year.

The present trend indicates that the total throughput in 2012-13 could be more or less the same as last fiscal’s 139,800 TEUs. If at all, it could be even less than that, marginally though.

“The viability of all the three CFSs can be achieved only if there is a quantum jump in the throughput at Haldia dock, at least double the present level,” spokesman for one of the three CFSs said.

“However, the prospects of such a jump do not appear to be promising given the state of economies of the port’s hinterland,’’ he said.

Explaining the rationale of launching such facilities in the present situation, the spokesman said the investment plans were finalised and applications made at a time when the scenario was not as bad as it is today.

“Perhaps no body could visualise the kind of economic downturn we’re having now, particularly after 2009,” he added.

(This article was published on March 7, 2013)
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