MSC Expands Presence in India with New Port Calls to Tap Growing Interior Markets

MSC is expanding its presence in India by introducing additional port calls to cater to potential new markets deeper within the country’s interior, spurred by the growth of manufacturing sectors driving the economy.

The shipping company has initiated a container feeder shuttle service between Paradip, located in the eastern state of Odisha, India, and the Colombo port in Sri Lanka. MSC views the recent voyage of the MSC Tiger F as the inception of what could potentially lead to significant trade growth from this largely unexplored region.

In its inaugural call, approximately 130 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of exports were handled for shippers Vedanta Aluminium and Jindal Stainless. The Paradip port authorities have announced plans for MSC to make three calls per month on the Paradip-Colombo route.

To incentivize container lines to explore this route commercially and operationally, the Paradip port authority has substantially subsidized vessel-related charges, including port dues, berth hire, and pilotage fees.

PL Haranadh, the port chairman, highlighted the unprecedented 75% discount on port charges and the waiver of scanning fees to encourage container cargo movements. This initiative aims to reduce dependence on ports outside the state for prospective clients from Odisha.

Regional Container Lines (RCL), a Thailand-based intra-Asia carrier, is slated to introduce a container service from Paradip, connecting to Port Klang.Additionally, the government of Odisha has announced a compensation scheme that provides viability gap funding (VGF) of $200 per TEU if the volume of export/import falls below the minimum guaranteed level of 250 TEU during a ship call at Paradip.

Although Paradip has traditionally focused on dry and liquid bulk trades, a concession deal with Mumbai-based JM Baxi Group has diversified its cargo mix. This has led to an estimated containerized trade potential of around 200,000 TEU annually.

Other terminal operators are also eyeing the emerging market in Odisha. PSA Mumbai at Nhava Sheva port has established logistics arrangements to facilitate regular container trains connecting cargo from Odisha’s hinterlands, marking one of the longest inland connections for PSA Mumbai spanning over 1,600 km.

With New Delhi aggressively promoting large-scale industrial and electronics production, India is poised to capitalize on the “China-plus-one” sourcing model, driving expansion in headhaul cargo for ocean carriers serving Indian trades through direct calls and transshipment aggregation.

MSC adopts an integrator approach to consolidate its operations in India, with terminal interests strategically located at three key port locations: Mundra, Tuticorin, and Ennore.

Source: The Loadstar

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