Following a notification issued by the new DCP (Traffic) Navi Mumbai on August 9, 2018, stopping traffic of the port for a few hours every day, the movement of ex-im containers has been severely impacted, leading to huge traffic congestion, as per trade sources.
According to a communiqué from Capt. Umesh Grover, Secretary-General, Container Freight Stations Association of India (CFSAI), subsequent to the notification, barricades were put up by the police restricting movements of ex-im containers in JNPT area.
This sudden action crippled all the import evacuation from Port to CFSs and export boxes movement to the Port. As a responsible stakeholder, CFSAI, before approaching the Police Commissioner, reached out to Chairman JNPT, who immediately swung into action and a senior level JNPT team met up with DCP (Traffic) Navi Mumbai. On understanding the gravity of the situation, the DCP (Traffic) agreed to keep the order in abeyance and agreed not to implement the order. The barricades were removed later in the evening.
However, despite assurances the barricades were put up again for 3-4 hours every day disrupting the entire ex-im trade. The TTs have been stuck on road for 10-12 hours and the terminals’ inventory increased drastically, forcing them to regulate the gate movement and the movements were severely impacted.
The following extract from a GTI advisory to the trade recently gives an idea of the scenario: “It is understood that Port outbound traffic will be stopped every day at 1700 hours till 2300 hours. This stoppage of traffic will have adverse impact on terminal gate movement and traffic around port area. Yesterday GTI out gates were closed at 1900 hours due to stoppage of out moving traffic and eventually we had to close our in gate at 2000 hours. Traffic started moving at 0100 hours and gates were opened. Closure of terminal gates has impacted inbound traffic badly.” It called on the trade to plan movement of export containers and deployment of trailers as per gate opening timings to avoid traffic situation outside terminal. The BCBA also issued a trade advisory on this matter.
CFSAI has formally written to the DCP highlighting that imposing traffic regulations for CFS vehicles and intermittent setting up of barricades and blocking to and fro CFSs movements have severely impacted the entire containerised ex-im trade. The TTs are stranded for 8-10 hours. This would surely have serious repercussions on the ex-im trade and the consistent endeavour of GoI, JNPT and JNCH to reduce dwell time and cost would be nullified.
Further, CFSAI raised this matter in a meeting convened by Mr Vivek Johri, Chief Commissioner, JNCH. All trade representatives, terminals, BCBA, shipping lines and CFSAI expressed very serious concern as the entire ex-im trade at JNPT has been hampered, causing loss of several crores of rupees. The repercussions of this restriction on ex-im traffic, apart from increased dwell time and cost, totally destroys the government’s initiatives of “Ease of Doing Business” and improving India’s ranking in WB Logistics Index, the communiqué stressed.
Huge traffic congestion
Another trade advisory pointed out that currently “there is huge traffic congestion towards GTI, NSICT and NSIGT terminals”.
“After the restriction imposed by Traffic Police Commissioner, the GTI central gates are being kept closed for export/import movement twice in a day, i.e. 1) during 05:00 am to 11:00 am and 2) during 17:00 pm to 23:00 pm. Restrictions on trailer movement have badly affected all the exports and imports evacuation of all terminals in Nhava Sheva.
“The average time to reach GTI central gate complex from Karal Phata has now increased up to 19 hours, which was 16 hours last week. Transporters are reluctant to deploy trailers for empty movement. Due to current congestion and frequent closure of gates, we are finding it extremely difficult to arrange trailers for movements towards GTI / NSICT / NSIGT.”
The advisory requested all in the trade to “take up the matter with the concerned terminals and government authorities at appropriate forum and arrange to expedite the terminal operations”.
Exim India’s report on this issue, dated August 13, had mentioned that cargo flow was reportedly not impacted much. That was an initial assessment based on talking to multiple sources. The situation seems to have clearly worsened since then.