From mid-July, state-run Container Corporation of India Ltd (Concor) will restart coastal shipping services it had suspended in March when the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the pandemic.
“We have already told the vessel operator to tie-up all the slots, complete the process and revert to us,” a Concor official said, adding that the service would resume by mid-July.
India’s biggest rail hauler of containers has purchased 2,000 new higher capacity containers — painted in dark blue – to be used in coastal trade.
Concor entered coastal shipping in January 2019 linking Deendayal Port Trust in Kandla with VO Chidambaranar Port Trust in Tuticorin with stops at New Mangalore Port Trust and Cochin Port Trust by a weekly call.
Beginning November last year till March 2020, the two ships deployed on the service were running at full capacity and an average of 60 containers used to be left behind when the ships sailed. On the March 27 sailing and the 59th overall since the service began, some 100 containers were left behind for want of space.
Between November and March, the ships carried over 30,000 twenty-foot containers, prompting the official to say that the Navratna PSU was doing a “roaring business”.
“Despite being a new entrant in the sector, we reached a peak. When we had learnt how to do this business, the pandemic had struck like anything,” the official stated.
“Irrespective of whether somebody was giving one container or 500 containers, we treated them equally. That has given a big fillip to our business, he noted.
Western coast service
Concor had picked Vishwa Samudra Coastal Lines Ltd to launch the Western coast service last year through a tender, seeking to benefit from the impetus given by the government to decongest road and rail.
The 10-year contract deployed two coastal ships capable of carrying as much as 700 twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs with maximum gross weight of 21,000 tonnes.
Seaport Cargo Logistics Pvt Ltd, a unit of the Hyderabad-based CVR Group, the former promoter of Krishnapatnam Port in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, holds a 60 per cent stake in Vishwa Samudra Coastal with Hyderabad-based Vm Logistics Consulting LLP holding the balance stake in the joint venture.
Concor had planned to launch a similar service on the eastern coast linking Chennai Port with Dhaka in Bangladesh, in March. “Everything is in place. We are in talks with the customers on starting the service,” the official said without disclosing the date.
Source: The Hindu Business Line