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Shortage of containers hits apparel exports

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Shortage of feeder vessels and containers at Thoothukudi port are affecting garment exports, according to Apparel Export Promotion Council chairman A. Sakthivel.

In a memorandum to the Union Ministry of Shipping, Mr. Sakthivel said that in the recent days, exporters faced difficulty in shipment due to insufficient empty container inventory and capacity of small vessels. The exporters end up paying higher freight cost to ensure timely delivery to the buyers. “It has been gathered that there will not be any feeder vessel availability for next few weeks. Already, there are considerable shipments piled up and it is expected that the situation will get worse,” he said.

With fall in imports from China, there is an imbalance in container inventory in the country and exporters are unable to get good condition empty containers to export cargo from here. With increasing exports from India to the United States, there is a demand too for more containers. But with availability of only small vessels, space in the vessels is less and shipping lines are full. Thus, freight costs have gone up.

Apparel exports declined in April, May, June, July and August this year compared to corresponding months last year. In such a situation, the government should act fast to ensure availability of sufficient containers and feeders vessels at the port. This will help the apparel exporters complete orders and ship to their customers on time, he said.

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