A shortage of containers and increased freight charges are adversely affecting exports from Kolkata causing apprehensions of huge financial and business loss, exporters said on Tuesday. The crisis of vessel space and containers is nationwide but the situation is worse in Kolkata, they said. “Availability of containers is less than half of the demand causing disruptions in exports and delivery schedule has gone haywire. Predictability of availability of container and freight rates is not there anymore. Freight rates have jumped 2-3 times of the pre-Covid levels,” Federation of Indian Export Organisations(FIEO) chairman-east, Sushil Patwari told PTI. Freight charges have skyrocketed and freight forwarders to the West Coast are also declining to book cargo due to severe scarcity of containers, exporters said.
“The crisis of 40ft containers is more acute. Freight rates to the Middle East have been doubled while to the US and Europe, the rates are now USD 8,000 per container compared to USD 2,000 in pre-Covid time,” Utsarg Logistical director Manish Jha said. Forwarders are refusing all shipments for Europe and the US, said an exporter. “It”s the same everywhere… even for Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan. No containers, no slots, no vessel. Freight charges are going up every week,” Pravin Saraf, another exporter said. Another city-based exporter Siddharth Mehta complained that they are also facing similar problems in getting vessel slots for Latin American ports. No containers, No vessel space but freight going up. Freight forwarders said the delay to get space and container is at least 10-15 days and planning has gone for a toss. Exports from Kolkata Port is around Rs 50,000 crore per annum.