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The congestion plaguing Mundra Port over the past week, following cyclone-related disruption along India’s western coast, has severely crimped carriers’ ability to maximise export lifts amid increasing vessel capacity utilisation woes.

According to industry sources, container terminals in the private harbour – Adani Group’s flagship entity – have tightened the time allotted for cargo gate-in as they attempt to mitigate vessel congestion.

That means “carriers are facing challenges connecting all planned loads”, a ship agent in Mundra told The Loadstar, with shippers facing significant delays to exports already at the port or in transit from inland locations.

A Maersk advisory noted it was not able to accept any more cargo on its vessel in the port. And last week, Maersk pressed customers for speedier empty container pickups – within 12 hours of allotments — to help the pace of container flow.

The Kandla Mundra Container Transport Welfare Association, representing trailers in the region, has also raised serious concerns over the congestion at Mundra. It said: “Until operations are streamlined, delays in movement and (trip) cancellations may continue.”

Container train services to/from Mundra have also taken a hit because of the yard logjam and some service restrictions imposed by railway authorities.

Given the scale of backlogs, local carrier and other trade sources generally expected the busiest port to take at least a week to clear the effects of the cyclone-induced shutdown and pull supply chains back to some sort of a normal rhythm.

But one Mumbai-based freight forwarder told The Loadstar: “A lot of export cargo landed at the port weeks ago is still stuck there. With some vessels skipping due to berthing delays, it’s a challenge planning vessel loads.”

Mundra already had significant volumes surges to deal because of cargo diversions from Nhava Sheva (JNPT), where capacity was scaled back due to the decommissioning of a berth for equipment upgrades.

Meanwhile, APM Terminals Pipavav, which had borne the brunt of cyclone disruption, received a boost with a new weekly call addition from the CIX (China-India Express) string.  The connection began with the MV Wan Hai 360 arriving at Pipavav last week.

The CIX is jointly operated by Hapag-Lloyd, Wan Hai Lines and Evergreen Lines, using a fleet of eight vessels on a rotation of Pipavav, Nhava Sheva, Port Klang, Singapore, Kaochsiung, Hong Kong and Shekou.

Stakeholders are betting on Pipavav’s volume potential from the movement of ceramic tiles, handicrafts and other heavy construction materials, as well as agricultural products. Notable Asian feeder line Sima Marine recently also extended its India-Gulf connection to Pipavav for “greater transhipment reach”.

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