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India’s largest private port operator today reported nine-month results that again underscore just how poorly the state-owned ports are servicing the country’s economy.

Adani Port and Special Economic Zone, at the north-western port of Mundra, has been one of the chief beneficiaries of the series of labour disputes, terminal breakdowns – and ensuing congestion – that have dogged India’s premier container gateway, Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNP), over the past few years.

Mundra handled 1.68m teu in the nine months to the end of December 2013, representing growth of 33% on the same period the year before, and the east coast gateway. Net profit for the period rose 25% year-on-year to $71.5m.

And Mundra may well surpass Chennai as India’s second busiest box port, once it confirms its full-year figures.

Meanwhile, volumes at India’s major state-owned ports across the country fell by 4%.

The increases at Mundra occurred when a strike hit the DP World-operated Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal in JNP, which then spread to APM Terminals’ Gateway Terminals India, ultimately causing a series of traffic jams towards the port that were at times as long as 17km. Cargo – especially for the northern industrial hinterland near Delhi – was diverted to Mundra and its nearby competitor Pipavav, also partly owned by APM Terminals.

According to the company, Mundra handled the highest number of containers off a ship in one go when it exchanged 7,500 containers in November – the problems at JNP reaching a nadir. In June, it also handled the 14,000teu MSC Valeria, the biggest box ship to call at an Indian port.

The port has two box facilities – Adani International Container Terminal and Mundra International Container Terminal – with a combined capacity of 2.5m teu. It is in the process of building a third, in co-operation with MSC and likely to be the first terminal in the country dedicated to a shipping line.

The new South Basin facility will have a capacity of 1.5m teu and will give further impetus to the port’s growth.

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  • Michael Kusuplos

    January 27, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Again, private enterprise has shown how they can provide a most successful service at a lower cost than that of government controlled and operated facilities.

    India opened its doors to the global way of doing business over 20 years ago, when we they finally cast off the ways of the past?