Largest container port in India severely congested

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JNPT – Jawaharlal Nehru Port – the largest container port in India, is slammed with containers and now has a backlog of roughly 5,500 import containers due to a shortage of trains:

A report by the Business Standard of India said the Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) has failed to provide enough rolling stock. Railwaymen also report that inland militant farmers are ripping up railway tracks over water shortages.

From June 4 – 22, only 16 of the 90-TEU freight trains called at the port, far fewer than the 20 – 22 needed. “We have requested CONCOR to allow private rail operators to share the load,” said Maya Sinha S Sinha, deputy chairperson, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in the report.
“CONCOR has assured us that it will allot more trains to ease the congestion. But there is a backlog of 5,500 containers,” Mr Sinha said.

So far our contacts in India have not reported any delays or problems with our containers – yet. But when you have a situation where the dock’s capacity is only 2,500 TEUs and you have a backlog of 5,500 containers it’s only a matter of time.

To make things even more precarious, Maersk India is supposedly withholding payments from Indian Railways, which is not making Indian Railways very happy:

A senior Railway official said that Maersk, despite being the biggest shipping company in the world, had failed to deliver. “In contrast, our other PPP projects Hassan Mangalore Rail Development Company and Kutch Railway Company – are flourishing because they are in partnership with state governments,” he said.

The Indian Railways and Gujarat Pipavav Port Ltd (GPPL) are 50:50 equity partners in Pipavav Rail Corporation Ltd (PRCL), and Maersk is a majority stakeholder in GPPL.

“Maersk owes the Railways US$20.27 million in accumulated traffic guarantee default payments and other charges over the last four years,” the official said.

Far from paying up, Maersk want the Railways to defer these penalty charges to 2011-12, promising to bring in traffic by then. However, it is learnt that the Railways have rejected their demand.

Railway sources say Maersk is playing dirty as it has got a 270 km-rail link from Surendranagar to Pipavav for a throwaway price of $24.22 million, which is the value of its 50 percent equity.

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