Container carriers are expanding their operations on India’s east coast to take advantage of the growing manufacturing development in the region. This has resulted in more calls at new private terminals operated by Adani Group, rather than the traditional focal point of Chennai. Adani’s Ennore Terminal has seen increased competition in the market, with CMA CGM recently adding a call to its Nemo service. Ennore offers better highway connectivity for cargo trucks and Kattupalli is a multipurpose harbour close to the Chennai coastline. Adani acquired the pre-built port infrastructure in 2015.
HMM has also shown interest in using Kattupalli port as a hub for its Indian network, with a recent stop at the port to connect Indian cargo to the Mediterranean. The competition between different ports and carriers has provided shipment predictability and transit time advantages for freight forwarders in Chennai. Chennai Port has experienced infrastructure bottlenecks, leading carriers to seek alternative terminals with modern infrastructure and flexible tariff advantages.
In fiscal Q1 of this year, Chennai saw 371,314 teu, compared to a combined 330,554 teu at Ennore and Kattupalli. The trend of carriers expanding their operations on India’s east coast is expected to continue as the market expands, benefiting new cargo handlers.