JNPT strike: importers worried, rivals smile
Jignesh Joshi, partner at Scorpio Impex, an electronics accessories importer and exporter, is keeping his fingers crossed, hoping his incoming consignment from China, due to berth on Friday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port, run by the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), will be offloaded on time and not get delayed, or worse, diverted to another port. Sachin Kumar and Sachin Dave report.business Updated: Mar 29, 2012 00:03 IST
Jignesh Joshi, partner at Scorpio Impex, an electronics accessories importer and exporter, is keeping his fingers crossed, hoping his incoming consignment from China, due to berth on Friday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port, run by the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), will be offloaded on time and not get delayed, or worse, diverted to another port.
The reason: the four-day strike by the Project Affected Persons (PAP) protesting against non-allotment of developed land in lieu of their plots taken for developing the port. The strike, now in its second day, is scheduled to last till March 30.
“A consignment was due this Friday from China and we do not know the status,” said Joshi, who imports 40 containers every year. “It would be delayed and this would affect business.”But while importers and exporters such as Joshi may be on tenterhook, rival ports in the vicinity, in Kerala, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu are looking at the silver lining, hoping if the strike causes a delay of more than a week, cargo ships might divert towards them.
“It is likely that the traffic affected as a result of the strike at JNPT could be diverted to other ports,” said HC Venkatesh, traffic manager, KandlaPort.
On earlier occasions, especially when MSC Chitra collided with another cargo ship in 2010 and resulted in an oil spill on Mumbai’s coast, the traffic was diverted to other ports. “We have seen in the past that ships destined for JNPT came to PipavavPort to avoid delay,” said an official of PipavavPort on the condition of anonymity.
While this may not happen immediately, the official added that if the strike continued for more than a week, then the shipments would opt for other ports.
While the PAPs initiated a traffic blockade, the situation worsened with the joining in of the 30,000 workers at the JNPT who have supported the PAPs’ cause, stopping the loading and unloading of cargo, resulting in a daily loss of Rs 500 crore.
The PAPs are demanding 12.5% value of their ancestral land that was given away to the port in 1984, for which compensation has not received till date, said Bhushan Patil, a trustee at JNPT.
None of the officials of JNPT were available for comment and did not respond to emails sent by Hindustan Times.