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News: Indian Ports declare Force Majeure due to the COVID-19 outbreak

27 March 2020

As part of the attempt to minimise the spread the of the COVID-19, India has declared nationwide lockdown. As a result, the Ministry of Shipping of the Indian Government issued a Circular (available on the right) on the 24/03/2020 by which Major Port Trusts are directed to consider the COVID-19 outbreak as a valid ground for invoking Force Majeure on port activities and operations.

To date, Force Majeure declaration by the Indian ports remains optional. The ports which have declared Force Majeure are not accepting liability for delays and other implications which may be caused from the lockdown imposed to the country.

Our local correspondents James Mackintosh & Co. Pvt. Ltd. have provided us with an update on the current situation in Indian ports as of today 27/03/2020.

EAST COAST OF INDIA

Calcutta (NSD, KPD, Budge Budge, Sagar and Diamond Harbour):

a. Force Majeure:  No circular has been issued by the port authorities to date.
b. Present port operations: Port is working normally but with reduced work force. Transportation and evacuation are slow and is sometimes nil. Personnel encounters difficulties to reach the port due to the lock down. Port entry permissions can be obtained subject to special requisition procedures from port authorities.

Haldia:

a. Force Majeure:  No circular has been issued by the port authorities to date.
b. Present port operations: Labour Unions have agreed to work on Coastal TNEB, Oil Jetties (HOJ 1, 2 & 3) and Edible Oil vessels only. Fly ash unloading at barge jetties and rake loading for coal is continuing. Attendance of workers has been limited due to the imposed lock down. Special permission from port and police is being required in order to obtain access to the port. Port is carrying out thermal scanning at port gate before issuing entry permissions.

Paradip:

a. Force Majeure: No circular has been issued by the port authorities to date.
b. Present port operations: Port is working normally. However, the workforce is limited. Personnel encounters difficulties to reach the port due to the lock down.

Dhamra:

a. Force Majeure:  Port has declared Force Majeure. Please find the relevant circular on the right. 
b. Present port operations: Mechanical cargo operations are being carried out normally. Manual cargo operations are facing impediments due to limited work force. Personnel encounters difficulties to reach the port due to the lock down.

Gopalpur:

a. Force Majeure: Port has declared Force Majeure. Please find the relevant circular on the right.
b. Present port operations: Manual cargo operations are facing impediments due to diminished work force. Port workers are finding it difficult to reach port due to the lock down.

Tuticorin:

a. Force Majeure: No circular has been issued by the port authorities to date.
b. Present port operations: Port operations are ongoing, but they are slow as the movement of trucks and workers is affected by the lock down.

Karaikkal:

a. Force Majeure: No circular has been issued by the port authorities to date.
b. Present port operations: Port operations are ongoing, but labour and transport movement is affected due to the lock down.

Nagapattanam:

a. Force Majeure: No circular has been issued by the port authorities to date.
b. Present port operations: Port operations are ongoing, and anchorage port barge movements are allowed.

Chennai:

a. Force Majeure: No circular has been issued by the port authorities to date.
b. Present port operations: Port operations are ongoing, but labour and transport movement is affected due to the lock down.

Ennore:

a. Force Majeure: No circular has been issued by the port authorities to date.
b. Present port operations: Port operations remain as usual.

Kattupalli:

a. Force Majeure: No circular has been issued by the port authorities to date.
b. Present port operations: Port operations remain as usual.

Krishnapatnam:

a. Force Majeure: Port has declared Force Majeure. Please find the relevant circular on the right.
b. Present port operations: Port is allowing container vessels, dry bulk vessels using mechanical loaders and edible tankers using pipe discharge. Other General Cargo ships are accommodated subject to availability of minimum labour gangs. Port operations are slow, but they are taking place.

Kakinada:

a. Force Majeure: No circular has been issued by the port authorities to date.
b. Present port operations: Port anchorage operations have stopped due to non-availability of barges (barge personnel have stopped working). Deep water port is continuing its operations with mechanical unloaders and manual operations with available stevedores, shore workers, truck drivers and crane operators. Port operations are slow.

WEST COAST OF INDIA

Deendayal Port (Kandla):

a. Force Majeure: No circular has been issued by the port authorities to date.
b. Port operations: Vessel berthing and unberthing operations are going on as usual, but the cargo movements are slow due to shortage of personnel and transportation. Thus, the ships fail to achieve the port norms. The ships coming from COVID 19 affected areas have to strictly follow the DG shipping circulars.

Regarding the KICT terminal the vessel movements remain as usual but CFS movements are mostly closed.

Adani Ports – Mundra, Tuna, Hazira & Dahej:

a. Force Majeure: Port has declared Force Majeure. Please find the relevant circular on the right.

b. Port operations: Vessel berthing and unberthing operations remain as usual, but the cargo movements are slow due to shortage of personnel and transportation. Regarding all container terminal, the ship movements are as usual but CFS movements are mostly closed.   

All Minor Ports (under GMB) Bedi, Hazira Sikka, Magdalla, Dahej, Vadinar, Bhavnagar etc:

a. Force Majeure: GMB has declared Force Majeure. Please find the relevant circular on the right. 
b. Port operations: Vessel berthing and unberthing operations remain as usual, but the cargo movements are slow due to shortage of personnel and transportation.

Jewarhalal Nehru Port (JNPT):

a. Force Majeure: No circular has been issued by the port authorities to date.
b. Port Operations: Vessel movements at JN port terminal continue as normal. However the container handling operations is considerable slow, thereby causing delays to the arrived ships.  At the moment, due to the long and unpredictable ship berthing delays, liner ships are contemplating to revise their port schedules in order to minimise the delays.

Container terminals remain operational but slow.

Mumbai:

a. Force Majeure: No circular has been issued by the port authorities to date.
b. Present port operations: Port operations are ongoing, but labour and transport movement is affected due to the lock down.

Mormuragao:

a. Force Majeure: No circular has been issued by the port authorities to date.
b. Present port operations: Port operations are ongoing, but labour and transport movement is affected due to the lock down.

New Mangalore:

a. Force Majeure: No circular has been issued by the port authorities to date.
b. Present port operations: Port operations carried out but the cargo operations are slow. Special entry permissions are issued by the port authorities.

Cochin:

a. Force Majeure: No circular has been issued by the port authorities to date.
c. Present port operations: Vessel berthing and unberthing operations remain as usual, but the cargo movements are slow due to shortage of personnel and transportation.

The movement of containers to the CFS and warehouses are affected since the CFS are shut down and are not operational.


Please note that the situation is very dynamic. Given the serious nature of this emergency, we strongly recommend members consult their local agents and club correspondents prior to calling any Indian ports for the latest developments.