Despite intensifying regional competition, APM Terminals’ Gateway Terminals India (GTI) at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) continues to dominate container trade to/from India — an emerging market economy that ocean carriers and others increasingly target for growth, amid prolonged weak demand in other global regions.
GTI, also known as APM Terminals Mumbai, retained its top spot with the largest market share among all terminals at major public and minor private ports in 2018, according to a new port data analysis.
The premier terminal handled 2.07 million TEU in 2018, up 5 percent from 1.97 million TEU in 2017. That translates into roughly 13 percent of the total 16.4 million TEU shipped to/from India during the year, or 20 percent of major ports’ combined annual 10 million TEU, or a formidable 41 percent of JNPT’s record 5.05 million TEU in 2018.
GTI also became the first terminal at any Indian port to handle 2 million TEU in a calendar year — a significant feat, given the aforementioned challenges.
In an interview, Ravi Gaitonde, chief operating officer of APM Terminals Mumbai, stated that sustained high productivity rates, technological advancements, and other pro-trade measures have combined to deliver that stellar performance.
“The greatest success factor behind this interminable market leadership is our ability to keep pace with the ever-evolving customer needs and staying ahead of competitors,” Gaitonde said. “We have been able to work through most infrastructure related challenges in Nhava Sheva (JNPT).”
Even though the terminal has been working at full capacity, gate time in/out of containers there remains brisk — a fact that is illustrated in the latest cargo dwell time analysis by radio-frequency identification (RFID) service provider DMICDC Logistics Data Services Ltd. (DLDS).
The DLDS study found that GTI had the shortest average overall dwell time at JNPT during November — at 45 hours, down from 50.6 hours during the prior month. Even more significant was that level for imports was down to 24.1 hours, from 37 hours for the prior month, an impressive 35 percent improvement month-to-month.
Dwell time is generally defined as the time taken for exports inside terminal gates to be loaded onto a ship and imports onto a truck or train. The government has been pushing stakeholders to speed up cargo clearance because on-dock overstaying containers are a key contributor to port congestion.
In addition, officials said the terminal generated an average gross crane rate of 29 moves per hour and berth productivity of 106 moves per hour during the year, which at times increased to 44 moves and 140 moves, respectively.
Another notable performance highlight is the rapid progress GTI has made regarding direct port delivery (DPD) services at the port — an ease-of-doing-business program that enables importers to clear their cargo directly from the wharf within 48 hours of landing at the port. GTI has commanded the largest DPD share at JNPT, with such freight during December pegged at 24,908 TEU, out of the port’s total 54,464 TEU DPD handling during the month.
With three on-dock intermodal rail systems, GTI is able to handle five trains per day and, at times, even more on trade demands including dedicated trains for some of its clients. In addition, with automated gate operations, truck visit times have dramatically improved, enabling the terminal to process about 2,100 truck moves per day and about 4,800 gate transactions (exports/imports) per day, officials said.
Furthermore, sophisticated, 20,000-TEU on-dock yard infrastructure helps the company efficiently control inventory levels. APM Terminals has also introduced a vehicle booking service (VBS) to streamline truck flow, under which local container freight station (CFS) operators are allotted fixed time slots for their drivers to pick up import containers from the terminal.
“The ongoing improvements in the external infrastructure with respect to widening of roads and elevated corridors leading to and from the terminal will facilitate smooth flow of containers in the overall interest of our customers and the trade,” Gaitonde added. “Backed by the growing import-export containerized trade with the world, APM Terminals Mumbai expects to maintain the growth momentum in the coming years.”
APM Terminals Mumbai hosts currently nine weekly/regular calls, and officials earlier said the terminal is not in a position to accommodate more calls owing to window space constraints.