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Activists’ Friday protest threatens JNPT operations


A planned, renewed protest action Friday by development project-affected citizens at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) has concerned authorities and other stakeholders working to decrease cargo dwell times and increase efficiency amid a fiercely competitive international trade market.

Local political groups and trade unions leading the strike have, in their public announcements, stated that demonstrators will stage blockades at port entry/exit points to halt operations.

“The strike is expected to impact the cargo flow to and from the port gates and likely to stop operations at the terminal throughout the day shift on Nov. 16,” APM Terminals Mumbai stated in a customer advisory. “Presently, APM Terminals Mumbai berth integrity is maintained. However, as a consequence of the strike, berthing delays as well as delays in import evacuation and export gate-in are expected.”

JNPT handles the majority of India’s container freight and, as such, an operational disruption there — even mild — is bound to create considerable supply chain repercussions for India’s emerging market economy.

The dispute centers on a long-running, complicated issue — resettlement and compensation for land acquired for port development.

Those unresolved issues have led to protest strikes at different times, including blockades on Oct. 3 that briefly disrupted truck movement to/from the port. This most recent action was withdrawn by organizing parties after authorities reportedly offered to work out a new package through negotiations.

However, the imminent strike is an indication that no agreement was reached during that attempt.

Officials at JNPT and other terminals — operated by DP World and PSA International — weren't available for comment.

APM Terminals Mumbai represents roughly 40 percent of cargo moving via JNPT, with that individual volume during April-October hitting 1.2 million TEU, out of 2.94 million TEU shipped through the port in the same period last year.