Sankranti holidays to worsen situation at box terminal

T.E. Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on January 21, 2011 Published on January 14, 2011

DP World: No more space

The shipping trade is preparing for the worst as the three-day Sankranti holidays is likely to significantly slow down evacuation of containers out of the ‘chocked' private container terminal run by DP World Chennai.

The terminal is chocked with import laden boxes and the shortage of trailer drivers due to holidays will slow down the evacuation, according to industry sources. As of this morning, the terminal had around 12,000 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) as against the capacity of around 8,000 TEUs, according to sources said.

The pace of container evacuation is ‘pathetically low' and less than 1,000 units a day as opposed to 2,500 units ideally required. There are import boxes that are still lying inside the terminal for more than two weeks unable to move out.

“The situation is alarming with additional volumes from each vessel adding to the already stretched capacity — with no simultaneous evacuation taking place at the desired place,” said the Chennai and Ennore Ports Steamer Agents Association in a trade circular.

With the three-day holidays starting on Friday, the number of trailer drivers will reduce by more than half. “We are going to be helpless. While the evacuation will be slow, the ships will keep dumping boxes into the terminal,” said the source.

According to the association, the slowdown at the DP World terminal has also caused trailer shortage as the vehicles have to spend most of their time waiting in the queue in all the choking points. As a result a vehicle takes more than a day to complete a trip between the port container yard to a container freight station that is hardly 15-20 km.

The root cause of the problem has been dependency on a single gate that slows down every activity connected with terminal and spreading the congestion to every segment/place in the supply chain. This has also prevented use of the second private terminal (operated by Port of Singapore Authority), which has yard space to optimise the facility available, the association further said.

The association wants the port's gate 2 and 2A to be immediately restored for import load evacuation; gate 10 for evacuation of import laden boxes ex CITPL (second terminal) during late hours; CFS to enhance deployment of vehicles to meet the current shortages; completion of road repairs; and port should release additional yard spae to DP World Chennai to manage the overflow of boxes.

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Published on January 14, 2011
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