First trial call of Hyundai Merchant Marine positive

Following the Japanese firms, the Koreans start testing the waters at L & T Kattupalli Port, which is situated about 30km from the Chennai Port.

Both Japanese and Korean automobile firms have been scouting for alternative sea ports as Chennai Port is hit by congestion woes. The city houses three sea ports, of which containers are handled by Chennai Port and Kattupalli Port.

One of the major Japanese shipping companies (NYK Line) commenced its commercial run last week and the world’s leading shipping major is also likely to conduct a trial run at this port soon, said trade sources.

On September 18, Hyundai Highway of Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) made its maiden call at Kattupalli. During its visit, the vessel discharged 324 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) of containers carrying auto parts and components for Korean firms. Incidentally, all the shipping lines have been calling at the Chennai Port on a regular basis.

L & T officials said it was the first trial call of HMM and the response from the trade was positive.

The HMM officials were in the city to study the infrastructure facilities and the response time. The containers were cleared within a record time. NYK Line commenced its regular service after conducting four trial runs.

To take advantage of the booming automobile sector in Chennai, HMM launched its maiden direct weekly service to Chennai from Korea and China (Asia Chennai Service) during September 2007.

Till date, HMM has performed 45 sailings and achieved a total throughput of over 1 lakh TEUs. The goods are being exported to Korea, China and east coast of the United States.

Talking to The Hindu, Jean Johnson, HMM General Manager said: “HMM has been operating on the East coast — Kolkata (1995), Visakhapatnam (1997) Tuticorin and Krishnapatnam (2013) — with the help of feeder lines such as Bengal Tiger Line (BTL), Far Shipping Lines (FSL), Advance Container Lines and St. John Freight Systems.

“Since June 6, shrimps in 400 TEUs, procured from Nellore, Ongole and Machilipatnam, are exported to Singapore and Colombo from Krishnapatnam with the help of BTL and FSL. Our next focus is to extend coverage to shrimp exporters of Bhimavaram,” he said.