With Indian ports facing serious inland service shortages amid a 21-day countrywide lockdown that began Wednesday, exporters and importers are scrambling to move cargo in and out of terminals across the country. Some importers have stated they are having a hard time securing delivery orders from the carrier and once secured, the bigger challenge is moving boxes to their factories. “Shippers are concerned about potential detention charges, although there are talks about some extended free time,” one official said.
Indian containerized freight, has been hit hard by severe truck driver scarcity and drayage capacity issues. As an example, terminals at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust [JNPT] are operating at approximately 30 percent of capacity because of a sharp drop in gate-in and-gate-out activity,” a terminal official told JOC.com.
“The movement of [export-import] containers by road has virtually come to a standstill,” JNPT said in a trade advisory. “While vessels continue to be handled at all the port terminals, the gate-in of export and evacuation of import containers is not happening. In order to fill the road transportation gap until total normalcy is restored, authorities have been successful in convincing train operators to immediately put into service two to three trains each on a daily basis.”
Several trade associations are facing serious difficulties finding trucks due to the lockdown and restrictive measures on public movement. While most carriers are continuing to call the Indian ports, customers are cautioned that service delays are imminent around the movement of containers in and out of terminals, the issuing of delivery orders, and transshipment bookings.
Further, force majeure — which typically comes into effect when unforeseeable events or circumstances prevent one party from meeting contractual obligations — has been extended to all private ports governed by the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB). Some ports have already declared force majeure while still maintaining limited operations.
As a reminder, while transportation is considered to be an essential service, limited commerce is still moving. Our partners have updated the following conditions:
- The Indian Government is considering “relaxing” the lockdown, though it currently remains effective until April 14
- Many shipping lines have issued waivers for detention up to April 7
- Ports and container freight stations are operational, but working at low levels
- There are very few available for customs clearances, trucking, etc., even though many in the logistics industry are working remotely from home.
The lockdown situation and flow of cargo is a very fluid situation at this time. Please check with Mallory Representative for availability prior to making any bookings.
Source: JOC, Mallory Alexander Global Network