Amid ever-intensifying regional competition, terminals at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) — India’s busiest container harbor — are working harder than ever to increase efficiency and nurture closer business relationships with hinterland beneficial cargo owners (BCOs).
A prime example? PSA International’s Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals (BMCT). PSA said the terminal this week registered a new, significant productivity milestone when it serviced the 9,954-TEU MV Athenian, one of eight vessels deployed in the weekly “EPIC2/India Ocean” service between India, the Middle East, North Europe, and the Mediterranean.
BMCT generated average gross berth productivity of 175 moves per hour and processed 3,532 container moves during a 20-hour quayside operation, officials said. This follows a similar feat by DP World’s Nhava Sheva (India) Gateway Terminal last month.
The EPIC2/IOS service is a joint operation between Hapag-Lloyd, CMA CGM, and Cosco Container Lines — rotating Hamburg, Germany; Antwerp, Belgium; London Gateway, the United Kingdom; Tanger Med, Morocco; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates; Port Qasim, Pakistan; Mundra and Nhava Sheva (JNPT), India; Jeddah, Tanger Med, and back to Hamburg, providing a 56-day round-trip voyage.
Another notable point: that 175-move crane rate broke PSA’s two previous record-setting operations at Indian ports — 155 moves per hour and 2,462 container moves in about 16 hours on the MV Xin Hong Kong call Sept. 30 at BMCT, and the 169-move per hour rate at the PSA Chennai Terminal.
“These achievements underscore our determination to provide consistent and reliable best-in-class services,” said Mike Formoso, managing director of PSA India.
In addition, the company hosted a trade session in Kanpur — a key inland point in the state of Uttar Pradesh — in late November to showcase benefits shippers can enjoy by using BMCT. Kanpur has good rail connections to/from JNPT, with up and down train runs pegged at 40 per month.
“With BMCT now offering direct weekly sailings to both Europe and Asia, shippers have an increased range of options,” PSA India stated.
“It is the first time any port terminal took the initiative to connect directly with customers. This move shall certainly be beneficial to the trade and JNPT,” a CMA CGM (Kanpur) official said, speaking at the session.
That sentiment was echoed by other industry representatives, including a prominent BCO who said, “PSA Bharat Mumbai’s initiative is highly welcome. We are confident in using JNPT terminals and are not looking for diversion to any other ports.”
BMCT officials also provided attendees — said to number more than 100 — with in-depth insights into current terminal capabilities/services, equipment upgrades under way, and future plans. They said the terminal recently added nine rubber-tire gantry cranes and is expected to receive three new quay cranes during the second quarter of next year, which will enable it to attain its designed 2.4 million-TEU capacity under Phase I. Officials also stated that work is progressing on schedule to increase that to 4.8 million TEU, as part of Phase II development.
“We are also working towards offering a wider range of solutions to cargo owners in the near future and remain extremely grateful for the support of our customers and stakeholders working closely alongside us,” Formoso added.
Besides JNPT and Chennai, PSA has operations at the ports of Tuticorin (V.O. Chidambaranar), Kolkata, and Kakinada. New port statistics collected by JOC.com show PSA Chennai represented 21 percent and PSA Tuticorin commanded nearly 10 percent of the combined 383,087 TEU South India volume during October.
That share of India's growing container trade — also amply illustrated in a recent Maersk Line survey — can go up substantially once BMCT starts operations at full capacity and speed, as JNPT handles the majority of volume to/from the emerging economy.