In anticipation of the landfall of cyclone Tauktae, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) has suspended vessel berthing at the Nhava Sheva port till weather conditions improve. The ships at berth have been asked to sail out by 11 pm on Saturday.
Industry insiders expect berthing to not resume at the busiest port in India for at least the next two days, delaying schedules for shipping lines.
In a circular issued by the JNPT, all the terminals of the port were advised to secure their cargo handling equipment and to comply with the heavy weather contingency plan.
“IMD has issued a cyclone warning for the area and JNPT is likely to experience heavy weather and sustained Wind speeds of 50-60 knots (93-111 kmph),” read the note. IMD is the Indian Meteorological Department.
Ships at anchorage were advised to “take all necessary steps for their safety”, including moving to the high seas.
This is yet another jolt for India’s shipping industry after rising Covid-19 infections have already impacted business and freight rates have skyrocketed.
This will result in delays and congestion at the port in coming days and blank sailings are expected to go up at Nhava Sheva as ships try to avoid delays, professionals in the shipping industry said. Blank sailing is when a ship skips a scheduled port of call.
“The port congestion will go up. Importers will have to start paying for demurrage and all this at the end of the day the customer has to pay,” said Pradeep Raman, vice president at Wiz Frieght, a digital freight forwarding company.
“Vessels have a certain window to complete the voyage in so there could be blank sailings at Nhava Sheva in the next week or so,” he said.
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