The export-import community at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (Nhava Sheva) has a hard time carting cargo into terminals and securing delivery orders as the port’s own terminal operations systems continue to remain offline, for the fifth day since a suspected cyber-attack on 20 February.
“Since port terminal operating system of JNPCT is currently unavailable due to some technical reasons, we are compelled to adopt a manual procedure for delivery of import containers,” Container Freight Stations Association of India (CFSAI) said in a trade advisory.
“However, under the manual system being extremely cumbersome, JNPCT is facing operational challenges and is able to give deliveries of only a fraction of containers to CFSs.”
At JNPT, due to space and other infrastructure constraints, cargo is traditionally routed through off-dock storage depots.
CFSAI noted that the slowdown in import clearance has created a backlog of containers that it believes will further build up until the digital network is restored and operations return to normal speed.
“Since these delays are solely attributed to the JNPCT operating system failure, our member CFSs will not be responsible for any delays, whatsoever, arising out of above and also for any costs attributed or arising out of these delays,” CFSAI said.
The manual documentation process has also considerably slowed down JNPT’s gate activity, causing excessive turnaround delays for truckers – a concern that prompted some container lines to warn exporters and freight forwarders that port congestion problems could affect their shipments already planned for loading.
The latest port flow disruption is expected to further tighten equipment availability, which has been a major concern for Indian exporters.
“Since port terminal systems are down, vessel VIA, berthings, etc., are currently being done manually through hard copies,” a shipping line official told Container News. “This is onerous and challenging.”
The delays that cargo owners face might also put more consignments at risk for extra cost implications by way of storage fees and carrier detention levies, besides other potential losses.
High CFS inventory levels could also challenge export shipments, according to industry sources.
Meanwhile, JNPT has not yet issued any further communication as to when it expects to bring online systems back on track.