The average number of TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) handled by rail at the Mundra port has crossed 5,300 in July, surpassing the pre-Cyclone Biparjoy levels of around 4,900. The number of double stack container trains has also increased by 33% post-cyclone, accelerating their clearance from the port. These figures show the resilience and preparedness of Mundra port in handling Cyclone Biparjoy, which unleashed its wrath on Gujarat in the month of June.
The cyclone disrupted operations and caused unavoidable operational downtime for around six days. As the port authorities had taken precautions to ensure the safety of human lives, no such incidents were reported, reflecting the commitment to safety and disaster management.
Thanks to its well-prepared response and prompt action, the port focused on restoring operations and emerged stronger than ever. Container vessels are now able to berth upon arrival, reducing congestion and delays. The pendency of containers in the yard has come down to a reasonable level, with dispatches seeing a notable increase especially on the rail side. Post-cyclone, on 2 July, the port berthed the longest vessel MV MSC Hamburg, with a length of 399 m and width of 54 m, with a carrying capacity of 15,908 TEU.
Mundra is the largest container handling port in India, having handled more than 6.6 million TEUs in FY23, making it an integral gateway to the north and central parts of the country. Its strategic location is enhanced by its connectivity to the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC), facilitating efficient movement of goods. Despite the disruption due to the cyclone, the port posted a commendable growth of 4.4% year-on-year in Q1 FY24 in container handling.
It has earned its reputation as the port of choice for major shipping lines such as MSC, CMA-CGM, Maersk, and Hapag-Lloyd, thanks to its efficiency, reliability, and seamless operations, besides its customer-centric approach and state-of-the-art facilities. It also serves as a crucial hub for major container train operators like Concor, Gateway Distriparks Limited and Hind Terminals Private Limited.
Cognizant of growing demands, Mundra port is expanding its infrastructure. A new berth, T3, with a capacity of 0.8 million TEUs, is set to be commissioned in Q3 of FY23. To augment container rail handling capacity, five new handling lines and two cantilever rail-mounted gantry (CRMG) cranes are being introduced. Also, improvements in the receipt and dispatch yard, as well as extension of existing lines to accommodate long-haul containers, is on. A new terminal operating system is being implemented to streamline processes and minimize manual interventions. It is also moving towards automation to reduce the man-machine interface and improve overall safety and efficiency.