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Business News/ Companies / News/  DP World ships banned ZPMC cranes to Jawharlal Nehru port

DP World ships banned ZPMC cranes to Jawharlal Nehru port

The port, which is aware of the ban, is not blocking the arrival of the gear by not seeking clearance from security agencies

A file photo of containers at DP World Ltd.’s Nhava Sheva port in Navi Mumbai. Photo: BloombergPremium
A file photo of containers at DP World Ltd.’s Nhava Sheva port in Navi Mumbai. Photo: Bloomberg

Bengaluru: When a ship carrying four quay cranes manufactured by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co. Ltd (ZPMC) docks at Jawaharlal Nehru (JN) port near Mumbai on 29 November, it is bound to raise eyebrows because China’s state-owned port crane maker is barred from supplying gear to Indian ports by the country’s security agencies.

The four cranes were ordered last year by Dubai’s DP World Ltd for its new container terminal coming up at JN port, India’s busiest container gateway.

JN port, which is aware of the ban on ZPMC cranes, is not blocking the arrival of the gear by refraining from seeking clearance from security agencies, a procedure typically followed by other state-owned ports.

“When ports including Mumbai port which is just across the channel of JN port and VO Chidambaranar port in Tuticorin had sought security clearance for ZPMC cranes ordered by public private partnership (PPP) operators (the clearance was denied), why is JN port not seeking such a clearance?" asked a port industry executive. He declined to be named.

JN port admits that there is lack of clarity on the recent decision of security agencies to bar ZPMC cranes. The government has not disclosed the reasons for the ban. “Does the ban apply prospectively or retrospectively?" said a JN port official, adding that DP World had ordered the cranes last year when the ban was not in force. “So, how can we prevent the cranes from being unloaded and erected at the new terminal?" the official said, requesting anonymity.

“Moreover, some ports are not seeking security clearance for equipment ordered by PPP operators. Still, it is a very serious issue; it could turn ugly," he added.

The port industry executive cited earlier said that JN port’s decision not to apply for security clearance for the ZPMC cranes ordered by DP World stems from its desire to build extra container handling capacity desperately and quickly to check diversion of container cargo to other ports due to capacity constraints.

Delay in procuring gear has been cited as one of the key reasons for about 17 port projects running behind schedule.

JN port last added capacity in 2006 when APM Terminals Management BV, the container terminal operating unit of Danish shipping and oil conglomerate AP Moller-Maersk Group AS, started operating a new container terminal, the third at JN port.

In the year ended 31 March, JN port loaded 4.16 million standard containers, operating at more than its designed capacity of 3.6 million standard containers a year.

JN port has three container loading terminals while two more are being constructed by private firms. This includes the facility being set up by DP World with a capacity to load 800,000 containers a year. The new terminal is expected to start operations in 2015.

JN port, one of the 13 owned by the Union government, is expected to handle 11 million standard containers by 2016 and 23 million standard containers by 2020, as per a 10-year plan for ports unveiled by the shipping ministry in 2011.

ZPMC is the world’s largest port crane maker with a 70% share of the global quay crane market. About 146 ZPMC cranes are currently operating at India’s ports including JN port, making it the largest supplier of port gear to India.

DP World could not be reached for comment immediately.

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Published: 25 Nov 2014, 01:07 AM IST
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