Adani Ports suspends direct port delivery of containers

P Manoj Mumbai | Updated on April 17, 2020

Gautam Adani, Chairman, Adani Group. File Photo   -  The Hindu

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ), India’s biggest private port operator, has suspended direct port delivery (DPD) of containers and will shut the export gate at its container terminal in Hazira port from Friday evening as the storage yard was clogged due to non-clearance of boxes in the wake of the lockdown restrictions.

Adani Hazira Port Pvt Ltd, the entity that runs the port at Hazira, informed customers on Thursday that “yard inventories have significantly increased at Hazira Terminal due to non-movement of cargo from the terminal”.

“Despite current facilitations by the government and local authorities, we do not see any significant clearance or movement of the cargo. We are suspending our service of export gate at both terminal and export-import (EXIM) yard with effect from 17.04.2020, 1800 Hrs. This will be in effect till such time the yards are decongested,” Adani Hazira Port said in a trade notice.

The port operator also told customers that “DPD inventories have significantly increased at Hazira terminal due to non-evacuation by importers despite government guidance stipulating inter-state and intra-state movements are allowed irrespective of the nature of goods. As a result, Hazira terminal is facing severe congestion inside the yard”.

As port operations come under “essential services” and since cargo movements to and from port are also authorised during the lockdown period, there is no reason for DPD cargo not being evacuated from the port, it said.

“With immediate effect, we are suspending our service of DPD and request you to nominate containers to respective container freight stations (CFSs)/ inland container depots (ICDs) for all upcoming vessels to Hazira,” Adani Hazira Port told its customers, while urging them to “clear and move their import containers on top priority basis”.

This will be in effect till such time DPD inventories are evacuated by importers and yards are de-congested, it added.

DPD implies that import containers are delivered directly to pre-approved clients at the port itself instead of waiting in a CFS located outside for clearance, which reduces cargo dwell times and cost for shippers.

En-block movement of boxes

Since Hazira is not linked by rail, it cannot enlist the support of Customs to remove the boxes that have been lying at the yard for too long through en-bloc movement by CONCOR to CFS/ICDs, a trade source said. This happened in Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Chennai Port Trust where CONCOR railed out DPD boxes en-bloc with the support of Customs, he added.

“If the importers don't come forward to clear the containers, like Hazira, all other Indian ports will be full and the trade cycle may come to a full stop. But, for existence of CFSs, container terminals would have got choked long back,” said the CEO of a CFS near JNPT.

“Containers are piling up at various ports and not enough deliveries are happening. CFSs are operating to the brim and further movement is hampered. There are containers lying in ports accruing ground rent, which ultimately will be passed on to the CFS by shipping lines. It's a double whammy for CFS. On the one hand, we are being pressurised to waive ground rent and on the other hand, we will be debited with port ground rent. This burden has to be shared by the entire chain and cannot be loaded onto the CFS operators,” he added.

Published on April 17, 2020

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