Gujarat Pipavav RoRo segment witness 50% dip in volumes as auto sector slumps

Post By : Karvi Rana
Post Date : September 24, 2020
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As the automobile segment hits the rough road due to the ongoing COVID crisis coupled with several other factors, it is the APM Terminals-promoted Gujarat Pipavav that also had to face the heat as automobile volumes at its Roll-on Roll-off (RoRo) segment have almost halved in the last few months.

“Currently, the drop in volumes in our RoRo business is about 50 per cent. Since the yard is now vacant, we could look to use the space for storage of containers.”

Jakob Friis Sorensen, managing director at APM Terminals Pipavav

The RoRo yard facility at APM Terminals Pipavav has the capacity to handle 250,000 vehicles annually. The RoRo yard is run in partnership with NYK Auto Logistics (India) which offers logistics support to the auto manufacturers looking to export their vehicles out of India or for coastal movement.

As per reports, in the quarter ended June, the volume for RoRo stood at 2,000 units, down 8 per cent from previous quarter primarily due to lower demand in the export market and impact of lockdown induced due to COVID-19.

The port majorly handles container cargo while the RoRo business is smaller in comparison. It is believed that the port container cargo forms nearly 70 per cent of its total business along with bulk and liquid.

“Due to the pandemic, our container business has also declined by nearly 15 per cent year-to-date. However, we are expecting a steady recovery into 2021 and are already beginning to see volumes go up,” informed Sorensen.

The exports are witnessing a pickup in the last few months compared to the imports, which is helping volume gain, he added.

“Due to COVID-19, there was skeletal staffing which has led to some delay but the proposal is under scrutiny and within a month we will be informing the port about our decision on concession extension,” a senior official with Gujarat Maritime Board said.

Gujarat Pipavav aims to gain from the implementation of western dedicated freight corridor where the company plans to increasingly bring its cargo from road to rail in a bid to lower cost and also improve carbon footprint.

“Currently, 60 per cent of our cargo is via trains and balance via road. We look to rely more on trains going ahead which will lower our transit time and in turn increase volumes,” explained Sorensen.

The container yard capacity would be expanded once the cargo growth is visible post commissioning of DFC, he said.

Meanwhile, analysts believe that implementation of DFC would augur well for the port as it will improve proximity to Delhi which forms a sizeable portion of cargo handled by the port.

Source: Business Standard

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