Container availability in India is likely to start easing by mid-November with growth in imports, the CEO of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone said Nov. 3 on a quarterly earnings call.
“We do expect that container availability will increase further in quarter three as imports start increasing in the country. We already see signs of repositioning of containers happening at our ports, so we do expect this easing up happening by mid of this month,” Karan Adani said.
India, along with other major Asian markets, has been facing an acute shortage of containers for the last six months due to a skewed import-export ratio and supply chain disruptions in the wake of COVID 19-related lockdowns.
Historically, imports have accounted for 60% of container volumes in the country and exports for the rest. That trend was reversed in the July-September quarter when exports were around 55%-60% of total container volumes and imports were smaller, Adani said.
The rise in exports was predominantly because of pent-up demand — Imports did not stop when the lockdown was in place but exports did. “So, we saw demand on the export side when the country opened up and the factories started again,” Adani said.
However, normalcy is likely to return in the current quarter and container volumes were expected to touch to pre-COVID-19 levels by the end of the year, he said.
Container volumes at Adani’s Mundra port recovered over July-September and were 36% higher quarter-on-quarter at 19.4 million mt.
In numeric terms, July-September container volumes at Mundra port stood at 1.3 million 20 foot-equivalent units (TEU) against 1.2 million TEU a year ago.
APSEZ handled total cargo volume of 56.25 million mt in the July-September quarter, compared with 41.41 million metric ton in the prior quarter.
The company has 11 ports and terminals in India — Mundra, Dahej, Kandla and Hazira in Gujarat; Dhamra in Odisha; Mormugao in Goa; Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh; and Kattupalli and Ennore in Chennai — and is developing a transshipment port at Vizhinjam in Kerala and a container terminal in Myanmar.