Why World’s Largest Ship Has To Skip India?
New Delhi: Ever Alot, the world’s largest boxship at 400 meters long and with a capacity of more than 24,000 twenty-foot equivalent units cannot dock in India, simply because harbours along India’s coast aren’t deep enough to handle such big vessels. Neighbouring Sri Lanka, as well as Malaysia, have in recent months received visits from the Ever Alot, which can rival the Empire State Building in length.
Most harbours along India’s coast aren’t deep enough to handle vessels like the Ever Alot, the world’s largest boxship at 400 meters in length and with a capacity of more than 24,000 twenty-foot equivalent units.
India’s biggest state-run container handling facility, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, lacks the 17-meter draft needed for such vessels to navigate. One facility that has said it can handle the behemoth – Mundra Port, operated by billionaire Gautam Adani’s conglomerate – has so far been skipped. The 17,292-TEU APL Raffles is the biggest vessel to have berthed there, in January 2022 with 13,159 TEUs on board, Bloomberg reported.
“Ultra-large ships provide economies of scale,” Shailesh Garg, a director at Drewry Maritime Advisors was quoted as saying. “However, increasing the vessel size alone will not help in speeding up the movement of goods to and from the hinterland.” Road and rail links from ports to warehouses, factories and shops also need to be improved, he added.
According to a Reserve Bank of India report in 2022, poor shipping connectivity has hindered India’s integration into the global value chain. The country scored 34% in the GVC participation index compared to 45.9% for the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the RBI said. Vietnam was above 50% in the gauge, according to a separate report.
Mundra Port hosted APL Raffles three years after Vietnam welcomed a similar-class ship. Mundra is India’s highest-ranking port in terms of performance, sitting at 48th in an index compiled by the World Bank Group and S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Vizhinjam Port in Kerala is a deep-sea facility with a natural draft of 20-24 meters, so it is capable of attracting bigger ships. It is expected to be operating by 2024, Roy Paul, a spokesman for Adani Group, which is developing the project was quoted as saying.
Another port in Maharashtra that has a natural draft of 18 meters is expected to be completed in 2028, according to the government’s Maritime India Vision 2030, the report added.