The world is witnessing the big container shortage issue. High demand for containers has also led to a continuous rise in freight rates. Jakob Friis Sorensen, managing director at Gujarat Pipavav Port, discussed the current situation and the outlook.
“It is quite a structural problem that has been with us now for many months. And it looks like it's going to take some time to even out, so it is a problem. It’s not something that's only hitting India, it's hitting everywhere. It’s not easy just to have a silver bullet solution to how this is being solved,” he said.
The Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) is giving some relief to the stress that people are currently experiencing. “We are looking at the upsides that we can provide and helping out the industry. So, we can run engines, we can run electric trains now from Pipavav to the northern market in Delhi in around 24 hours, which is fantastic,” he noted.
Gujarat Pipavav has lined up Rs 700 crore for organic expansion, for getting newer cranes and also to get the container yard modified. “We have plenty of room to grow organically. And again, I have to mention that we will be the pioneers in the DFC and that is something we are putting a lot of energy into, because it would really be a game changer for Indian import and export supply chain,” he said.
The company has also grown in container volumes in Pipavav. “Our bulk volumes, both on the dry bulk, but certainly also now, liquids such as LPG have been fantastic in the month of August. So I would say we are firing on all cylinders. It’s going to be a lot of work and several months ahead of us is going to be focusing on this recovery, but at least things are going in the right direction - the volumes, both import and export are actually going in the right direction,” he mentioned.
In the month of May, cyclone Tauktae hit Pipavav very badly. “It took us out of operation for a couple of weeks. If we didn't have that natural disaster, I would say that we would beat the former financial year. But there is some extraordinary impact to the cyclone, so we are now doing upgrades of our infrastructure and maintenance and repair. But that is coming back. We will probably be slightly better than last year,” Sorensen shared.
For the full interview, watch the accompanying video.