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Thursday, October 1, 2020

Containers containing medical waste being returned !

                                                                  Director Hari’s Singam 3 starring  Suriya, Anushka Shetty and Thakur Anoop Singh, focussed  Durai Singam's attempt to solve the murder case of Visakhapatnam police commissioner Ramakrishna, motivated by much more disastrous activities masterminded all the way from Australia. 

Lot happening in logistics, movement of cargo ships and containers across the globe.  The UK’s port of Felixstowe has issued an apology to customers for “inconvenience”, admitting “service standards are not currently where they  would like them to be”. On its website, the port attributed its problems to “a sharp spike in import container volumes, along with a high proportion of late vessel arrivals”. The port also did a U-turn on its ban on the restitution of empty containers to the port.  Maersk, OOCL and other carriers had had to warn Felixstowe customers of delays discharging containers from vessels and longer turnaround times for trucks, as well as import containers missing rail connections.

Carriers have also been looking to divert ships to London Gateway or Southampton, including the 2M’s Asia-North Europe AE7/Condor loop vessel, the 17,816 teu Eleonora Maersk, which will now discharge its UK cargo at London Gateway.   It is reported that the vessel will load some exports redirected to Gateway, along with a “substantial number of empties”.

Back home, Ports like Chennai, Cochin and Kamrajar saw their cargo volumes nosedive about 30 per cent during April-August, while JNPT and Kolkata logged a drop of over 20 per cent. Container cargo handling at India’s major ports fell about 25 per cent during April-August amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to ports body IPA data. Container cargo in terms of TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) at India’s 12 major ports dropped 25 per cent to 3.25 million in the the April-August period of the current fiscal, showed the latest data from the Indian Ports’ Association (IPA).  In terms of tonnage, the container cargo declined 22.45 per cent to 49.26 million tonnes (MT) during the period.

A container shortage in India is causing long delays for exporters, especially on US trades. Earlier this month, The Loadstar reported the operational impact from the creeping equipment shortage in Asia – dominant headhaul traffic has caused empties to pile-up at ports in the US and Australia, for example, prompting carriers to plead for the swift return of used import boxes. According to New Jersey-based Worldwide Logistics (WL), the equipment shortage has spread to India, partly due to a drop in import volumes from China after trade restrictions were imposed by the government. “The shortage is most critical at Inland Container Depots (ICD) but also evident at port-side locations,” the forwarder noted.  

Emphasising the fact that Thoothukudi sits right between the east and west international trade routes, industrialists of southern districts have urged the Union government to declare Thoothukudi V O Chidambaranar Port as an International Container Transhipment Hub. A transhipment hub in Thoothukudi would get the containers directly shipped to India as against the existing system of containers being transhipped at Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port.  

Now something more on Singam 3 ~ the story occurs few months after Durai Singham arrested  international drug lord Danny.   Visakhapatnam City Police Commissioner  had been murdered and the Home Minister of Andhra Pradesh proposes recruiting Singam from Tamil Nadu to Vizag as the new DCP, by order under the CBI. As Singam arrives in Vizag station, he fends off an attack from goon Gun Ravi, who works for Vizag's most influential and powerful don Madhusudhana Reddy. It gets revealed by a  local schoolteacher   that a toxic smoke attack from the nearby dump killed his 32 students, including his grandchildren. Singam realizes that Ramakrishna intended to expose illegal dumping of mediwaste and electronic waste, which included recycled tablets being sold to the public and the smoke attack on the school. The garbage is being imported by Vizag Scraps owner   in exchange for free metal scrap delivery to steel companies in Australia.  .. .. ..’e waste and bio-waste’ in containers getting dumped was the crime theme of the movie !! – perhaps the movie was not screened in Sri Lanka !?!

Media reports state that Sri Lanka has sent back 21 containers full of ‘recycling’ to UK for they were full of rotting medical waste !.   The Sri Lankan government said container-loads of waste were brought into the island in violation of international laws governing the shipping of hazardous material. Previous illegally imported containers had included rags, bandages and body parts from mortuaries, according to officials.  The 21 containers were holding up to 260 tonnes of rubbish were brought into the island in violation of international laws governing the shipping of hazardous material.  The type of hospital waste was not revealed, but they departed Sri Lanka on Saturday according to customs.  Interestingly, they were not a single shipment but the rubbish had   first arrived by ship in the capital Colombo's main port between Sept 2017 and Mar 2018.

representational picture 

The containers were meant to carry used mattresses, carpets and rugs, but had also contained hospital waste, officials said.  Reportedly, the shipper had agreed to take back these 21 containers. Another 242 containers from Britain remain abandoned at the same port and at a free trade zone outside the capital.  In the past two years several Asian countries have turned back container-loads of waste from foreign shores.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar



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