Indian shippers, just recovering from recent cargo flow hiccups at Nhava Sheva Port (JNPT), have received a bigger blow.

APM Terminals Pipavav has temporarily shut down operations because of a power outage in the harbour, caused by extreme weather along the west coast at the end of last week.

According to an APMT advisory, strong winds uprooted power transmission towers in and around the dock area, which it estimated would keep quayside operations at the port shuttered until Thursday.

“The port may handle container vessels tomorrow at the earliest, subject to regularising power supply,” said APMT.  “We are maintaining back-up power supplies to reefers.”

However, a port official told The Loadstar all operations remained suspended at the moment.

Meanwhile, APMT has issued another notice declaring force majeure at the port for an unspecified period, as the shutdown has sent scheduled vessel calls on the Indian west coast into a tailspin.

Most weekly container services operating out of India’s western corridor have multiple stops, featuring JNPT, Mundra and/or Pipavav, to serve northern hinterland cargo. Local industry sources told The Loadstar vessels already in transit had been diverted to Mundra.

Maersk told customers it was “making every effort” to minimise the abrupt port shutdown’s adverse effects on service reliability. It added: “Our teams are actively diverting cargo containers from Pipavav to Mudra using rail and road options, which continue to operate normally.”

But it added that “there is a potential for delays in these movements over the coming days until the restoration of port operations at Pipavav, and we are working closely with all parties involved to keep your cargo moving safely and efficiently”.

CMA CGM has also confirmed a series of vessel omissions at Pipavav because of the disruption, which include the AS6 and CIX services. All Pipavav imports would, instead, be discharged at Nhava Sheva, CMA CGM (India) said.

“It’s a double-whammy for the trade, as the pace of vessel turnarounds and cargo flows through JNPT was getting back on track after the berth closure hit,” a Mumbai-based freight forward told The Loadstar.

At the end of February, APMT Mumbai, also known as Gateway Terminals (India), put its main berth out of commission for the installation of new harbour cranes, expected to go live in September. The move saw vessel-bunching concerns and excessive truck build-ups in the initial weeks, but operations at the port have steadily improved.

Located about 150 nautical miles from JNPT, Pipavav is said to be India’s first public-private-partnership port entity, having begun operations in 1998 and seen significant growth in recent years. Last fiscal year’s container volumes were up 22% year on year, to some 765,000 teu, according to new data.

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