The Centre Government on Friday chalked out a four-point plan to deal with the situation arising from the blockage of Suez Canal. This plan, prepared by the logistics division of the commerce ministry, says prioritisation of cargo will be done in order to ensure timely movement of perishable cargo. The plan was chalked out in a meeting convened by the logistics division, Ministry of Commerce. It includes prioritisation of cargo, freight rates, advisory to ports and re-routing of ships.
Under prioritisation of cargo, Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO), Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) and Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) will jointly identify cargo particularly perishable cargo for priority movement and work with the shipping lines for the same. Besides, CSLA assured that the freight rates as per existing contracts will be honoured. “A request has been made to the shipping lines to maintain stability in freight rates during the period of this crisis. It was noted that the situation is temporary and is unlikely to have a long-lasting impact,” the commerce ministry stated.
Once the blockage is over, it is expected that some bunching may take place, especially at the ports of JNPT, Mundra and Hazira, it said. “Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways assured to issue an advisory to these ports so as to gear up arrangements and ensure efficient handling during the forthcoming busy period,” the statement said. Besides, shipping lines were advised through CSLA to explore the option of re-routing of ships via the Cape of Good Hope. It was pointed that such re-routing usually takes 15 additional days’ time.
Blockage of Suez Canal since March 23, 2021, is seriously hitting the global trade, the commerce ministry said.
This route is used for Indian exports and imports worth USD 200 billion to/from North America, South America and Europe. It includes petroleum goods, organic chemicals, iron and steel, automobile, machinery, textiles and carpets, and handicrafts, including furniture and leather goods.