Container carriers serving Indian trades have voiced increasing frustration over supply chain pain-points at Mundra Port.

The country’s busy trade corridor continues to recover from the impact of a week-long port shutdown caused by cyclone Biparjoy.

Among a widespread shipping halt on the coast, the disruption has been more pronounced at Mundra, as it leads mainline ship calls for India’s containerised trade.

The Container Shipping Lines Association (CSLA) told The Loadstar the congestion at Mundra had seriously affected vessel flow, with an inevitable knock-on effect on sailing schedules.

It noted that vessels had experienced berthing delays of about 40 hours, on average, after the port resumed quayside operations on 17 June, and  Sunil Vaswani, the association’s executive director, said “a chaotic” berthing window situation at Mundra had sent carrier service reliability into a tailspin.

Highlighting multiple productivity setbacks, the CSLA said that, at the height of the logjam, container lifts fell from the usual average of 27-28 moves an hour to 21. But Mr Vaswani added: “This has now improved somewhat, to about 25 moves/hour.”

However, he said landside logjams and train service disruption continued to pose significant scalability challenges for large ship calls on major tradelanes out of India, while temporary service restrictions imposed by Indian Railways had dealt a blow to export loads out of Mundra.

“About 80 trains are in the pipeline, with the average number being handled daily having dropped from 26-27 to 21,” Mr Vaswani said.“Given that Mundra’s volumes are essentially up-country, delayed train arrivals mean fewer cargo connections for vessels already hit by berthing delays.” Inland container depot volumes account for more than 30% of Mundra’s cargo.

In addition, the carrier group said, congestion had forced several vessels to bypass Mundra to discharge cargo at other ports in the region, which typically causes longer transits and extra costs for cargo owners.

Intermodal rail companies, including Container Corporation of India (Concor) and Gateway Distriparks, have told customers to expect disruption to freight at Mundra because of the service restrictions, Gateway warning them: “We request you to plan your cargo accordingly and adjust shipment schedules.” Similarly, Concor has urged customers to “explore other first-mile options” to keep their export consignments flowing.

Adani Group’s flagship port of Mundra is critical to India’s containerised supply chains, seeing some 610,500 teu last month, outpacing the 528,000 teu handled by Nhava Sheva (JNPT), according to industry data.

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