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Friday, July 19, 2013

direct shipping service from Chennai Port to East coast of US launched

Dear (s)  :  Landmark event in the port of Chennai

It is just over a half a century since the first container ship, the IDEAL X, sailed from Newark to Houston in the US on April 26, 1956. The ship carried 58 containers and 15,000 tonnes of bulk petroleum. Since that small beginning, a lot has changed in the global containerisation of cargo. From the US, where the action started, it has shifted towards Asia, AND something important happened in our own backyard, yes at CHENNAI.
Today, the size of container ships matters a lot, and global shipping lines are going for larger ships (> 5,000 TEUs  are becoming the rule than exception).   For some of you to whom the terminology TEU is new :  There are  common standard lengths & most common amongst thenm are  20-ft (6.1 m) & 40-ft (12.2 m). Container capacity is measured in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) A twenty-foot equivalent unit is a measure of containerized cargo capacity equal to one standard 20 ft (length) × 8 ft (width) × 8 ft 6 in (height) container. In metric units this is 6.10 m (length) × 2.44 m (width) × 2.59 m (height), or approximately 39 m³. One 40-foot container would be two TEUs.  Don’t get overawed to learn that  the world's largest sailing container ship, Emma Maersk, has a declared capacity of 11,000 TEUs of containers.
Most of the Indian ports are nowhere near being able to handle such large ships.  In India, except for Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNP) none of the other terminals can handle ships of around 5,000 TEUs and the industry depends a lot on feeder vessels, resulting in higher freight.  Shipping lines have pursued more fuel economy and economies of scale in vessel size to reduce cost, increase market share and take leading positions in the sector.
NOW THE NEWS ABOUT CHENNAI: Situated in the coromandel coast of South East India, Chennai Port os more than a century old artificial port., and located in Chennai, South India, is one of the major ports on the Coromandel coast of India. The initial piers were built in 1861, but the storms of 1868 and 1872 made them inoperative. The Chennai Port Trust has taken the year of rebuilding 1881 as the starting year and celebrated its 125th anniversary recently. It can be said without doubt that the Madras Port was the main reason for the booming industry in Madras and contributed in no small measure to the development of the City.
The Container Terminal in the Port of Chennai happens to be the oldest container terminal in the country. The terminal was formally taken over by P&O Ports and operations commenced on 30th November 2001.  Chennai Container Terminal (P) Ltd., was conceptualized the day P&O Ports decided to respond positively to the Chennai Port Trust invitation for EOI in respect of its proposal to hand over operations and redevelopment/ modernization of its Container Terminal through private participation. The license to develop, operate and manage the Chennai Port container terminal for a period of 30 Years was awarded by Chennai Port Trust to P & O Ports on 12th September 2000. In line with the conditionalities of the BOT Concession, CCTPL was incorporated as an Indian Company at Chennai and the take over and refurbishment of the Container Terminal commenced.
16th of March 2007 is a day when a mile stone event took place. On this day, a direct container shipping service from Chennai to the U.S. east coast was launched. It began with the 294-metre-long `Maersk Djibouti,' which has a capacity to carry 5,100 containers, calling at the Chennai port terminal operated by Chennai Container Terminal Limited (CCTL).   The ports of call of the weekly service would be Chennai, Colombo, Salalah in Oman, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, Algeciras in Spain, and three ports on the U.S. east coast — Savannah, Norfolk and Newark.
With the launch, a long-felt need of the trade for a direct service had become a reality. It would be an alternative to the existing practice of shipping containers from Chennai on feeder vessels to either Colombo or Singapore, and from thereon to the final destination on mainline vessels. The service  would take 28 days from Chennai to reach the U.S. This would translate into around 10 days savings for the trade. It took anywhere between 35-40 days on the feeder route.   Maersk officials expect the weekly trade volume to be about 2,000 boxes.   While serving the hinterland of Chennai port the Maersk service would make Chennai a service hub for cargo from Visakhapatnam, Haldia and Chhittagong.

Further good news is that a direct service connecting Chennai with various ports in Europe is to be launched in May.

With regards - S Sampathkumar

PS: something shared with my group on 19th Mar 2007

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