All Indian ports along the coastline of Gujarat have halted operations until further notice in the wake of Cyclone Biparjoy heading towards the country’s north-west corridor.

The affected ports are some of the country’s leading container handlers, such as Mundra, Pipavav and Hazira.

Adani Group’s flagship Mundra is particularly critical to India’s box trade, being the most sought-after port call point for major services because of its infrastructure superiority and strategic location.

Across the ports, ships already at berth have been shifted from jetties and authorities have been told to halt further vessel movements and immediately secure harbour equipment.

“All existing vessels at anchorage are to proceed for high seas,” Adani Ports said. “No vessels will be allowed to anchor or drift in Mundra port limits until further instructions.” 

With expected winds up to 145 kph, the cyclone is categorised as a “very severe storm” and its effects will likely last about a week, make it even more concerning for authorities and trade stakeholders.

“Persistent swell is making marine and quayside operations extremely difficult and challenging,” said Ajay Kumar, head of marine operations at APM Terminals Pipavav, while  Nhava Sheva (JNPA) has also placed restrictions on vessel movements as a precautionary measure. Mundra and Nhava Sheva together handle roughly 65% of India’s containerised trade.

Cargo interests in the busy trade region were already caught up in a supply chain quagmire, after APMT Pipavav was forced to shut down operations and declare force majeure, due to power outages caused by strong winds at the end of last month. This prompted large-scale cargo diversions to Mundra, putting carrier service reliability at considerable risk.

Maersk warned customers to expect delays for containers moving by rail because of the congestion and train logjam at Mundra’s rail yards.

The developing cyclone-related disruption will exacerbate the cargo delays. In a new customer advisory, APMT said: “After suspension of all marine and quay-side operations at Pipavav Port from 10 June, land-side operations too remain suspended with immediate effect.”

Other ports in the region, such as Kandla, Tuna and Vadinar, have also implemented cyclone-related precautionary measures.

Comment on this article

You must be logged in to post a comment.