The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Navi Mumbai, the country’s largest container handler, said it had put a ship that came from Iran, ‘The Moon’, under quarantine for 14 days. The curbs ended on Monday (March 16).
It has Turkish and Indian crew. 'The Turkish section had mixed with the local population in Iran for a sizable time period,' a top port official said. 'A report is being prepared. It will be reviewed by the port health officer and only after completion of the guided procedures the vessel will be brought to the berth,’ added the official. The vessel is carrying liquid ammonia.
Among countries in West Asia affected by coronavirus, Iran has the highest number of cases. It is also among the hardest hit countries outside of China. 'We cannot give a timeline as to when the vessel will be brought in for unloading,' said the official.
The JNPT, with annual capacity of 7.5 million TEUs, has five terminals. Since the outbreak, the port had five container vessels skipping the schedule. This could mean flooding of vessels at the facility once situation starts to normalise. The port gets a monthly average of 125 sailings. With five ships skipping, it would mean about 20 sailings would be cancelled, since the same ship docks on a particular day every week.
A JNPT official said they were not worried about the additional load. 'Our utilisation is 5.13 million TEUs. This is much lower than the installed capacity. So, even if there is a rush at a later date, JNPT can handle it,' he said.
Port officials would not divulge traffic details. 'Even the skips that JNPT has had so far are not necessarily because of coronavirus. It could also have been due to the holiday season in China on account of their new year,' said an official. A majority of the port’s container vessels come via China, where the virus is believed to have originated.