NEW DELHI : The AP Chamber of Commerce and Industry Federation (AP Chambers) in a representation to Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal informed him that sufficient number of containers were not available at major ports causing problems to the exporters in the country.
Chambers president Pydah Krishna Prasad and general secretary B Rajasekhar in the memorandum pointed out that non-availability of containers for exports from Andhra Pradesh is facing the risk of slowing down and subsequent hike in freight rates. The export industry is already feeling the heat of high container rates amid shortage. The container charges have increased to record levels in the past 10-15 days. The charges for availing a container to or from India have increased to $7,000-$10,000, compared to $3,000-$4,000 a few months ago. The final cost further increases based on the distance covered. As exporters are not able to meet their delivery schedules, they also face the risk of losing customers owing to customer dissatisfaction.
The global container shortage is the result of congestion at Chinese ports that have been closed or operating at lower capacity after the nation announced fresh restrictions due to Covid-19. The high demand for containers in the United States and Europe has also led to a surge in container rates.
“We understand that approximately 25,000-30,000 containers are lying at different ports in the country. These containers have not been unloaded due to disputes with Customs and other departments,” they said.
The Chambers urge the Union Commerce Minister to intervene in the matter to ensure that they are made available to exporters and allot around 2,000 containers out of it to be available for exports from Andhra Pradesh. If this is not done immediately, Andhra Pradesh will lose out on key exports ahead of the upcoming holiday season in the West.
Some low-value export items that are exported in high volumes have been impacted the most. The export items from AP which include granite tiles, cotton yarn, tobacco, rice, fruit pulp, spices and others have already been hit. In addition to this, higher exchange rates are being charged by the Freight agents and Shipping Lines at the time of the release of B/Ls. Exporters are being asked to pay additional amounts to get bookings in the current vessels.