Liner connectivity in India
Upsizing of containerships has been a trend in the shipping industry to achieve economies of scale. However, the pace at which the vessel sizes are increasing in last decade is unforeseen.
Upsizing of containerships has been a trend in the shipping industry to achieve economies of scale. However, the pace at which the vessel sizes are increasing in last decade is unforeseen. In global container fleet today, we can see more than 50 ships with capacity exceeding 18,000 teu. Although ordering of new ships has taken a pause, rumours of CMA CGM and MSC ordering 22,000 teu vessels might be a reality soon. However, economies of scale from carriers’ perspective does not always hold true from the terminal operators’ perspective. To accommodate large ships, the ports need to continually upgrade their handling infrastructure apart from increasing the efficiency and productivity to remain competitive.
Being situated on a major trade lane (Asia-europe), Indian ports cannot remain aloof from the emerging trends in global container shipping. The largest vessels delivered out of shipyards mostly find their home on this route due to the geoeconomic dynamics. Therefore, the average ship size in 2011 on Asia-europe route was 9,400 teu which increased to 14,700 in 2017, about 60 per cent increase in cargo carrying capacity per vessel on an average. Similar is the case for Indian ports. The average size of container ships handled by Indian ports increased from 3,700 teu to 6,100 teu in 2017. Similarly, the largest ship size also rose to 12,500 teu from 7,400 teu.
India’s biggest major port Jawaharlal Nehru Port is also going through major expansions and enhancements to accommodate the bigger size vessels. Maintenance, dredging of the Port channel and basin has been carried out in the recent past in order to serve the trade with better infrastructure ready in place. During 23rd and 24th April 2016, JN Port handled the biggest vessel of 13,371 TEUS capacity, MSC Fabiola of 366 meters’ length at its private terminal Nhava Sheva (India) Gateway Terminal (NSIGT) operated by DP World. Vessel MSC Sola with deepest draft ever of 15.2 meters also being handled at port. JNPT SEZ has acquired all regulatory compliances to cater to bigger vessels, In March 2017, the Port has also awarded tender for increasing draft. The dredging project being completed at a cost of Rs 2029 crore will place JNPT in the league of deeper ports and ensure scale economies to its EXIM trade. The project includes the existing channel to be widened to 450 metres from the current 370 metres, and the straight reach channel to be extended to 35.5 kms, from the existing 33.5 kms. The draft of the channel will be increased to 15 metre, from the current 14 metre. The estimated quantity to be dredged is to the tune of 35.03 million cubic metre, including 1.73 million cubic metre rock dredging. JN Port is repeatedly achieving several milestones in terms of vessel size to facilitate faster turnaround and reinforce JN Port’s position as one of the leading container Ports in the Country.