Indian Ports in Gujarat shutdown as Cyclone Biparjoy threatens north-west corridor

In the wake of Cyclone Biparjoy, which is ready to hit the country’s north-west corridor, all Indian ports along the coastline of Gujarat have halted operations until further notice.

The powerful cyclone Biparjoy that has now weakened to a very severe cyclonic storm will affect some of the laeading container ports of the country including Mundra, Pipavav and Hazira.

Mundra-the flagship port of Adani Group is particularly critical to India’s box trade, being the most sought-after port call point for major services because of its infrastructure superiority and strategic location.

The ships at berth across the ports have been shifted from jetties and any further movement of vessels have been asked to put on halt until further notice. Further authorities have asked to immediately secure harbour equipment.

Adani port said, to move all existing vessels at anchorage to high seas and stop vessels to anchor or drift in Mundra port limits until further instructions.” 

The cyclone has been moving northwards at a speed of five kilometers per hour, and is centered approximately 290 km southwest of Gujarat’s Porbandar. It is expected to cross Gujarat’s Saurashtra and Kutch regions as well as adjoining Pakistan coasts on Thursday.

The severity of the storm will leave an impact that will last about a week, making it even more concerning for authorities and trade stakeholders.

“Persistent swell is making marine and quayside operations extremely difficult and challenging,” said Ajay Kumar, head of marine operations at APM Terminals Pipavav, while  Nhava Sheva (JNPA) has also placed restrictions on vessel movements as a precautionary measure. Mundra and Nhava Sheva together handle roughly 65% of India’s containerised trade.

Gujarat- the busy trade region of India was already seeing cargo interests caught up in a supply chain quagmire, after APMT Pipavav was forced to shut down operations and declare force majeure, due to power outages caused by strong winds at the end of last month. This prompted large-scale cargo diversions to Mundra, putting carrier service reliability at considerable risk.

Other ports in the region, such as Kandla, Tuna and Vadinar, have also implemented cyclone-related precautionary measures.

The land-side operations are too suspended with immediate effect

Maersk warned customers to expect delays for containers moving by rail because of the congestion and train logjam at Mundra’s rail yards.

The Western Railway has short-terminated more than 50 trains heading to coastal areas of the state, as the cyclone moves closer to the coast and is considering cancelling several trains over the next three days, a release said. Measures such as setting up disaster management rooms, help desks, and keeping relief trains ready are already in play by the Western Railways, to help combat the cyclones effect.

Sumit Thakur, chief public relations officer (CPRO), WR, said that as many as 56 trains heading to Gandhidham, Veraval, Okha, and Porbandar in coastal Gujarat have been short-terminated at Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Surendranagar. While around 95 trains are being proposed for cancellation between June 13 to June 15.

The developing cyclone-related disruption will exacerbate the cargo delays. All agencies including the Government of India, Gujarat state government, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy, Coast Guard and disaster management authorities are working together to minimise the impact of Cyclone Biparjoy: Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday

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