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Traffic at Indian ports increases due to Sri Lanka crisis

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MUMBAI : More ships have been turning to Indian ports in recent months as a result of political and economic uncertainty in Sri Lanka, as well as congestion at the Colombo port. According to industry groups, roughly 5-10% of regular traffic from Colombo has been diverted to Indian ports in the last month, with Chennai, Ennore, Mundra, and Thoothukudi’s VO Chidambaranar Port benefiting the most. Due to the situation in Sri Lanka, traffic at the Kochi International Container Transshipment Facility (ICTT) in Vallarpadam, India’s first transshipment terminal, increased by 62% to 13,609 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in March 2022, compared to 8,394 TEU in March 2021.

“In recent times, we have seen considerable diversion of transshipment traffic from Colombo to Kochi. There are vessels that are skipping Colombo cargo, because of the longer time taken for transshipment,” said Cochin Port Trust Chairperson M Beena.

“Kochi is a natural alternative to Colombo now,” she said. The transshipment container traffic in Kochi saw an increase from 36,183 TEU in 2019- 20 to 86,000 TEU in 2020-21 and 156,000 TEU in 2021-22. Chennai and Kamarajar (Ennore) ports jointly saw a 26 per cent hike in cargo traffic to 87.3 million metric tonnes in 2021-22, according to reports. “The Colombo port is almost at a standstill.

There are no trailers to evacuate containers and cargo from the port. In the last one month, we are seeing a considerable shift in normal traffic to the ports in Tamil Nadu — Thoothukudi and Chennai now, due to the congestion in Sri Lanka,” said S Narasimhan, President, India-Asean-Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Narasimhan said he expects more traffic to get diverted to Kochi transshipment terminal and ports in Tamil Nadu in the coming months

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