Indian ports begin to clear COVID-19 backlog


India is beginning to ease the backlog of vessels and containers that had congested its major ports as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic’s strain on the supply chain.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and the Port of Chennai, the first and third biggest ports in India respectively, have reported that their operations are beginning to return to normal.

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In a LinkedIn post on 7 April 2020, PSA, Chennai’s terminal operator, said 1,758 TEU had been cleared from the port in 24 hours and just over 3,000 since the government implemented a nationwide lockdown.

In addition, JNPT announced on Twitter that its entire backlog of containers had been cleared and that it had “ample space”.

JNPT typically handles around five million TEU annually.

The Indian Shipping Ministry has also raised its efforts to help the country’s maritime sector through the pandemic.

In its own Twitter post, the Ministry said it was ensuring that all ships that pass through its ports are “kept in working condition with valid certificates and are adequately manned”.

It also said that the country’s cargo traffic had seen a year-on-year (YoY) increase in tonnage alone in March and April.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to thousands of containers arriving at India’s ports without the correct documentation, such as the Bill of Entry, which then couldn’t be moved.

This was compounded by China’s recovery from the pandemic and subsequent increase in exports.

India is in the middle of many of the world’s biggest shipping lanes and its port serve numerous Chinese exporters.

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