Container availability, currently a challenge for export sector: President, FIEO

According to Sharad Kumar Saraf, President, FIEO, non-availability of containers for the export sector is posing a serious concern for meeting delivery commitments of foreign buyers. He said , “From the last couple of months, in spite of offering space for three to four weeks ahead, shipping lines are shutting out the containers abruptly giving reasons that the vessels are full. The sea freights have also started increasing gradually since July and all the shipping lines have increased the freights by 20 per cent to 40 per cent depending on the destinations. There is a need for a regulatory agency for the shipping sector and we expect that the proposed National Logistics Efficiency Advancement Predictability and Safety (NLEAPS) Act would be formulated and implemented soon to protect the exim sector from such sudden and abrupt changes.”

Saraf further stated that exports have started picking up and our merchandise exports turned positive for the first time in the last seven months registering a growth of about 5.3 per cent in the month of September 2020. Therefore, this important component of export logistics needs immediate attention else our exporters would not be able to capitalize on the new opportunities.

FIEO Chief also advocated that the government order to pay terminal handling charges to ports directly may be implemented across ports as it will bring down logistics costs for the export sector and make them more competitive.