Logistics

Domestic containers getting heavier

Mamuni Das New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on July 05, 2012

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Container trade volumes may have witnessed a decline, but their average weight has risen.

While the global average weight for a container hovers around 9-10 tonne for a twenty-feet equivalent unit (TEU), the same for containers handled at domestic ports is 14-15 tonne for a TEU.

Commodity mix

The increasing weight can be explained by the commodity mix, with granite, stones, marble and maize and pulses now being moved in box format.

This also means higher earnings for shipping agents, truckers and train operators. Containerisation — something that started a multimodal trend in the global logistics market — is seeing an uptrend in India. The import of metal scrap from West Asia has increased, said Mr Shailesh Garg, Director, Drewry Consulting, India. Allumina exports from Vizag go at 22 tonnes/TEU. Food items such as rice, maize and pulses are also moved in containers, weighing about 20 tonnes/TEU, he added. For the first two months of the current fiscal, containers at major ports weighed 15.7 tonnes against 15 tonnes in the same period last year, according to the Indian Ports Association.

Auto parts

Also, with India emerging as a car manufacturing hub, many auto parts in semi-knocked down condition come in containerised format. Finished cars are exported in 40-feet container units, though the cars weigh less. Additionally, the average weight for a container in the domestic circuit has gone up after box train operators entered the scene. Listing some of the rare commodities, Mr Garg said, Soya and deoiled cakes are among other bulk commodities that are moving in boxes. Flyash was being imported from West Asia a few years ago, but not any more. The domestic trade sees more of TEU container movement, while the EXIM trade sees more of FEU-sized containers, said Mr L. Thapar, Chief Executive Officer, Hind Terminals, the container train company backed by MSC Shipping.

> mamuni@thehindu.co.in

Published on July 05, 2012
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