Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals becomes fastest to reach one million container handling milestone

P Manoj MUMBAI | Updated on October 21, 2019 Published on October 21, 2019

One millionth container being handled at BMCT

Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals (BMCT), the facility run by Singapore’s PSA International Pte Ltd at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) near Mumbai, handled its one millionth twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last week, becoming the fastest to reach the feat for a terminal in India.

The milestone was achieved despite the problems related to the inter-terminal transfer of containers by rail which was resolved in August this year, an issue that led PSA to file a complaint with India’s anti-trust regulator against its rival terminals in JNPT. The issue has since been closed.

BMCT started operations on February 18, 2018 and is one of the five container terminals at JNPT and the newest one. It is also the biggest of the five terminals at JNPT with a capacity to handle 2.4 million TEUs a year from a quay length of 1,000 metres or 1 km with the deepest berths capable of handling super post-panamax vessels.

PSA International, the world’s biggest container port operator by volumes, is fully-owned by Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore.

In the two months of FY18 since its launch, the terminal handled 23,212 TEUs followed by 520,124 TEUs in FY19.

Since April this year, the terminal handled 466,550 TEUs.

The one millionth container handling milestone

The one millionth milestone came during the call of M V Bermuda, a container ship owned by French line CMA CGM on October 18.

The M V Bermuda plies the Swahili Express (SWAX) service together with partners Emirates Shipping Line and Hapag Lloyd, linking Mumbai with East Africa and the Gulf.

BMCT has provided SWAX with 100% berth on arrival to date, allowing the service to catch up any delays in the schedule, underscoring BMCT’s unrivalled flexibility. A second milestone was also achieved in the call: the highest number of moves of a SWAX call at BMCT to date - totally 1868 moves, a BMCT spokesman said.

Given the nature of the trade lane, the service also handles large amounts of out of gauge and breakbulk cargo, a fast-growing market segment at BMCT given the facilities and available room to grow for carriers.

“Given the strong relationship between PSA and CMA CGM not only in India but globally, it is apt that BMCT’s one millionth TEU is handled on a CMA CGM vessel on the SWAX service – the same combination for the first service call at BMCT. Reaching this point spurs us on towards higher volume and service standards,” said Mike Formoso, managing director, PSA India.

Hailing the terminal for handling one million boxes “in such a short period of time”, Ugo Vincent, Managing Director, CMA CGM India, said “consistent productivity has always been a hallmark of BMCT”.

PSA International won the rights to develop and operate the terminal for 30 years by offering the highest revenue share of 35.79% in an auction and is the largest single foreign direct investment (FDI) in an Indian port project.

The PSA project involves construction of two berths in two phases of one km each with the first phase designed to handle 2.4 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) at a cost of Rs 4,719 crore and the second phase another 2.4 million TEUs involving an investment of Rs 3,196 crore by 2022.

BMCT has hired consultants to plan the Phase 2 of the terminal on which construction will start by December this year. The Phase 2 expansion is expected to be operational by end 2022 and will bring the total capacity of BMCT to 4.8 million TEUs.

The expert appraisal committee (EAC) in the ministry of environment, forest and climate change has recommended environmental and coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearances for the second phase of the project.

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Published on October 21, 2019
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