Maersk in India Credit Maersk
Photo: Maersk

As the imbalance between supply and demand widens, container lines trading in the Indian market say they have made every effort to better manage shipper expectations, propelled by the resurgent global sourcing for Asian goods.

Echoing that sentiment, Sunil Vaswani, executive director of the Container Shipping Lines Association (CSLA), told The Loadstar liner operators substantially boosted equipment availability and vessel capacity levels over the past year to aid Indian export growth.

“About 1.7m teu of empty containers have been repositioned into the country from January to December 2021,” Mr. Vaswani said.

“And for their part, the lines have deployed as much additional tonnage as possible into India, with several new services to the US east coast, Europe, West Africa and the Far East, increasing the total weekly capacity from India to these destinations by about 35,000 teu.”

According to Mr Vaswani, the capacity side issue plaguing Indian cargo owners is, therefore, not so much about the availability of equipment for exports, as space on board ships.

He also noted that the ongoing sailing disruption was a consequence of the logjam vessels face at larger international ports .

Looking ahead, Mr Vaswani said, liners have about 600 newbuildings expected to join their fleets in the coming months to add further capacity into the market.

Maersk Line in India told the Loadstar that, although challenges persisted, there had been a gradual improvement in the vessel flow on Indian trades and it was not seeing any major disruption, other than the “usual” carriers have faced since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There are bottlenecks throughout the entire supply chain – congestion at ports, unavailability of trucks and their drivers, congestion at warehouses, etc,” Maersk said.  “Globally, the effective vessel and equipment capacity is constrained at an estimated 15%, due to landside disruptions leading to vessels and containers waiting outside ports for longer, increased duration of operations and increased dwell times for containers arising out of congestion at warehouses.”

But the carrier sounded a cautionary note regarding Omicron. I said” “Without it, we may have been moving faster towards normalisation. It is tough to predict, as the situation in the different ports changes again and again — some for the better, some for the worse.”

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