Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Mar 22, 2005
Industry & Economy - Automobiles
Mumbai port emerging auto exports hub
Mumbai , March 21
`HUDSON Leader' - the car carrier of NYK Line is scheduled to load around 2,500 vehicles at Mumbai Port on March 31, the last day of the current fiscal. The sailing of the Japanese vessel with this export cargo will mark a turnaround for the Mumbai Port that has been facing tough competition from its neighbouring ports.
Mumbai is fast emerging as a hub for vehicle exports with all major domestic automakers - Maruti, Tata Motors, M&M and Ashok Leyland - started patronising the port.
Besides, the country's premier port, went into the red a couple of years ago, is expected to report a revenue surplus in the current fiscal. The total cargo handled by Mumbai port so far, including containers, increased by over four million tonnes to a record 34.5 mt from 29.9 mt last year.
Around 35,000 cars and nearly 10,000 other vehicles were exported through Mumbai port in the last eight months. It fact, it was the severe congestion at the neighbouring JN port that forced automakers to bring their export cargo to Mumbai, which is also the designated port for import of cars. The port management took the opportunity at once.
"We want to make Mumbai a major hub for auto exports. We started handling car carriers from August last and the response has been quite encouraging," said Mr Gautam Dey, Senior Docks Manger, Mumbai Port Trust. "Currently, on an average three vehicle carriers call at the port," he said.
If the projections made by Indian automobile companies are anything to go by, Mumbai port will be able to double its car exports, said Mr Dey. "We hope to handle one lakh vehicles next fiscal," he said.
Maruti and Tata Motors are the major exporters of cars through Mumbai port. Of the 2,400 cars that the NYK Line will be picking up at Mumbai this month, 1,400 will be Maruti, said a source at NYK agent in Mumbai.
Though currently car exporters are provided only common user facility, the port is planning to provide dedicated facilities to major exporters, said another port official.
Besides vehicles, Mumbai Port has been able to handle increased volume of other cargoes. Containerised cargo is expected to go up to 2.5 lakh TEUs as against 1.9 lakh TEUs. Volume of general cargo such as steel has gone up, the official said.
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