Unionized crane workers at Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal (NSICT), DP World’s flagship facility at India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), have slowed operations in recent weeks to show their displeasure over issues tied to the implementation of a new wage contract, port sources told.
The latest port data collected by JOC.com suggests the labor woes are having an impact, as NSICT’s throughput in June plunged 35 percent from May, to 31,508 TEU.
NSICT is one of two concessions the Dubai-based terminal giant holds at JNPT, India’s busiest container harbor. The dispute between workers and the terminal is a repeat of a labor spat that occurred two years ago.
With heightened competition following the February 2018 opening of the 2.4 million-TEU Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals by PSA International, all terminal stakeholders at JNPT have been refocusing on productivity to secure a sustained hold on capacity utilization. Nagging labor problems can challenge those efforts at DP World Nhava Sheva, however.
Officials at DP World Subcontinent did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the ongoing labor trouble. Labor officials could not be reached for comment.
The lingering labor problems could cause further commercial strain for NSICT, already in a tight spot due to a complicated revenue-sharing deal with the landlord port. To sidestep pricing problems, DP World has been prioritizing its newer investment at JNPT, named Nhava Sheva (India) Gateway Terminal (NSIGT).
That strategic approach has become even more evident in recent weeks, prompted by the slowdown, with the number of ship calls at NSICT in June down to 24, from 33 in May. On the other hand, NSIGT had 29 calls in June, compared with 25 in May and 23 in April. As a result, NSIGT booked a 9 percent increase in volume in June over May.
NSICT features a berth length of 1,969 feet, 64 acres of yard space, eight quay cranes, three rail-mounted gantry cranes, and 29 rubber-tire gantry cranes, with a capacity to handle 1.2 million TEU annually. NSICT ended fiscal 2018-19 with 560,661 TEU, down 12.5 percent from the prior year, data showed.
With six terminal concessions across five ports, DP World currently commands approximately 28 percent of India’s containerized trade.