Barge service to link PSA’s upcoming facility at JNPT

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 10, 2018

Will provide a major boost to shippers in the area

A small barge port located 13 nautical miles (about 24 km) from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) will spring back to life when Singapore’s PSA International Pte Ltd opens the first phase of India’s biggest single container terminal by capacity by December.

PNP Maritime Services Pvt Ltd, the entity that runs a lighterage port at Dharamtar from 2001 on a 30-year licence from the Maharashtra Maritime Board, will re-start a daily container barge service linking PSA’s Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals Pvt Ltd (BMCT). Dharamtar currently handles as much as 5 million tonnes of cargo.

In the first phase, BMCT is designed to load 2.4 million TEUs.

Coastal shipping

The barge service will give a boost to the government’s plan to promote coastal shipping and inland waterways.

The service will deploy a barge that can carry 80 twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs, offering cargo owners cost and time savings, as well as a more environmentally-friendly and reliable transportation option.

The barge service between India’s biggest container port and Dharamtar was shut down in 2012 due to lack of dedicated/exclusive wharf/berthing facilities for the barge.

BMCT and PNP Maritime Services signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) wherein the Singapore wealth fund-owned company will provide exclusive berthing facility to PNP.

“Re-starting the barge service will provide a major boost to shippers in this area. This is a large cargo catchment area with a market of over 80,000 TEUs annually. Together with the increasing amount of DPD (Direct Port Delivery), this service will allow cargo owners to transfer their cargoes faster and more cost effectively than via truck, as well as being a more environmentally friendly option,” said Sachin Tipnis, Director of PNP Maritime Services.

The limited road evacuation capacity at JNPT could result in missed schedules and the attendant demurrage charges.

Dharamtar is a fully functional tri-modal port located just 2 km away from NH 17. It also has a rail siding and rail connection. “It’s a facility that gives an option for customers to clear their cargo landing at Dharamtar either by road, by rail or by coastal movement,” says Tipnis.

The barge service will facilitate timely connection to mother vessels, less congestion and cut down the dwell time of shipping lines.

“Providing barging services to key cargo zones such as Dharamtar is one of the many reasons why BMCT will be a game changer for India’s port and logistics market, given its unprecedented size, scale and dedicated infrastructural links. We remain on track to start operations at the end of 2017 and look forward to partnering PNP on this initiative – one that is fully aligned with the government’s Sagar Mala project of port-led development,” says Suresh Amirapu, chief executive officer, BMCT.

Published on September 28, 2017

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