The Container Availability Index (CAx) in India has seen a significant decrease since May 2023, indicating that container exports now surpass imports at Indian ports. This information comes from Container xChange, which has observed a steady decline in the CAx value.
One of India’s major container ports, Mundra, experienced a 4.4 percent year-on-year growth in container handling during the first quarter of FY24. Despite facing disruptions caused by cyclone Biparjoy, the port quickly recovered and managed to dispatch containers at a rate higher than before the storm. Thanks to prompt docking of container ships, congestion and delays have been minimized, as reported by the port authorities.
Christian Roeloffs, the CEO & Co-Founder of Container xChange, is optimistic about India’s market scenario. He expects container freight rates to return to pre-pandemic levels in the second half of CY23 and continue to improve in the following quarters of FY24. This positive trend is likely to boost foreign containerized trade and increase earnings for port operators.
Container prices have also been on the decline since July 2023. The average container price for a 40 HC container at Mundra, Chennai, and Nhava Sheva was much lower compared to the same period the previous year, indicating a significant drop in prices.
Indian ports have shown resilience due to improved efficiency, strategic infrastructure investments, and stable freight rates. The focus on infrastructure development presents exciting opportunities for India in international trade and reinforces its position as an attractive container trade destination.
The average dwell time at Indian ports has improved significantly, matching top-ranking countries like Singapore. This showcases enhanced efficiency and performance in global trade.
India’s cargo handling capacity at ports is expected to receive a boost with the commissioning of new facilities at Vizhinjam in Kerala and the commencement of work at Vadhvan in Maharashtra in 2024. Vizhinjam Port will become the country’s first mega transshipment container terminal, strengthening India’s maritime infrastructure and trade efficiency, making it a prominent player in international shipping and logistics.
India is also actively creating 5,000 km of multi-country waterways to enhance trade and transportation across the region. This initiative promises improved logistics, stronger regional ties, and economic growth for all the nations involved.