T.J. Hockenson Authentic Jersey  India Seatrade News

Maersk calls propel APM Terminals Pipavav volume gain


After a long, seesaw freight volume trend, due to prolonged weak demand and ever-growing competition in India’s west coast region, APM Terminals Pipavav bounced back dramatically in the last fiscal quarter on the strength of service additions from group liner arm Maersk Line and others.

New statistics show APM Terminals Pipavav’s volume rose to an all-time high of 205,000 TEU in the January-to-March period, up 19 percent from 173,000 TEU in the prior three months, and up 30 percent from 158,000 TEU in the first quarter of 2017.

That strong uptrend illustrates how much the private, minor port benefited from a Maersk intra-Asia call, named the Far East-Indian Subcontinent Service (FI3), which began Jan. 15, and from a joint call from Cosco Container Lines and Wan Hai Lines under a five-vessel operation, dubbed the CI1, on the same trade lane, which debuted there Feb. 13.

Officials told that, APM Terminals Pipavav also had the feat of hosting a call from the Adrian Maersk — the largest container ship ever to have docked at the port — during the quarter.

In addition, Maersk last year introduced a direct call at Pipavav on its Europe-Middle East (ME1) loop.

With those additions, and rail service upgrades, APM Terminals Pipavav’s volume has vectored higher, with January volume totaling 62,626 TEU; February, 69,478 TEU; and March, 72,614 TEU, statistics show.

Further, the introduction of paperless gate operations this month — intended to speed truck flows — is expected to play a part in APM Terminals Pipavav’s efforts to achieve even stronger growth in the months ahead. However, it had slightly lower volume in April, the first month of fiscal 2018-2019, handling 66,870 TEU.

APM Terminals Pipavav officials previously told that, the company is constantly looking for ways to improve service for its customers in order to compete in a market that is substantially oversupplied and where ocean carriers in India west coast trades increasingly use multiple port calls as a strategy to maximize their liftings.

APM Terminals Pipavav, about 150 nautical miles from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, reportedly hosts 10 weekly mainline services, in addition to a fortnightly coastal loop and other ad-hoc calls.

The minor port, touted as India’s first public-private-partnership port venture, features a 2,411-foot berth, a 48-foot draft, and an 89-acre storage yard. Its annual capacity is 1.35 million TEU.