In what could mark
the start of intense price war among four container terminals located across four
ports (Chennai, Kamarajar, Kattupalli and Krishnapatnam) within a distance of
30 km near Chennai, container vessel Leonidio of the global shipping line
Maersk berthed, for the first time, at the Adani Ennore Container Terminal
(AECT) inside the Kamarajar port in Ennore on
It also marks a
complete shift in operations by Maersk – the world’s largest shipping line – to
Ennore from Chennai where its container ships have been calling since 2003.
“As global trade
increases, so does the congestion at existing ports. There comes a point when
moving to a new port becomes inevitable. Which is why we are shifting operations
from Chennai to Ennore.
And, we are doing
it before anyone else,” said a communication from Maersk, which has a regular
container service with adjacent Adani Katupalli container terminal.
The shift to Ennore
was due to ‘congestion free port, faster turnaround time, pro-active updates,
lower local transportation costs for Maersk customers, more reliable sailing
schedules with its global network and seamless back up plans through tie-ups
with inland container depots, ports and feeder operators, the shipping line
For the Adani
group, which invested Rs 800 crore last year to set up a container terminal at
Kamarajar port, it was a not an easy ride as the port’s charges on shipping
lines was far higher than those levied by Chennai port — with difference being
as high as $23,000 (Rs 15.30 lakh) per call. As a result, shipping lines missed
calling AECT, which can handle 1.4 million TEUs. The additional 40 per cent
made AECT less attractive than Chennai’s two terminals.
Adani group had to
approach the Shipping Ministry, seeking that level playing field. Efforts paid
off with Kamarjar Port Ltd reducing its tariff to make it on par with Chennai
Maersk was the
first global shipping line to start the terminal with a regular service
connecting AECT with the Chinese port of Qingdao - thus connecting Chennai with
Chinese ports in 14 days.
“AECT will be the
gateway to Chennai,” said Ennarasu Karunesan, CEO - Southern Ports, Adani Ports
& Special Economic Zone Ltd, at a trade meet last week to announce the
launch of a new container ship call by Maersk at ACET, which has good
connectivity by both road and rail. Nearly 60 per cent of the container freight
stations in the Chennai cluster are in close proximity to Ennore, he said.