Mumbai Port Continues Limited Operations; 60 Containers Cleared

Mumbai’s Jawaharlal Nehru Port, India’s biggest container harbor, will limit operations for a second day as salvagers continue clearing containers shed into the sea following a ship collision.

About 60 of the 300 cargo-boxes spilled by Mediterranean Shipping Co.’s MSC Chitra have been removed, S.N. Maharana, operations head at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, said by phone. Vessels with a draft of less than nine meters will be allowed to use the port today during high tide and under a naval escort.

“Unless the Navy scans the channels and finds it completely clear of containers, normal operations cannot resume,” said Maharana. He declined to comment on when this may happen.

The government aims to have all of the containers cleared by tomorrow, paving the way for the resumption of normal operations at Jawaharlal Nehru and the neighboring Mumbai Port, which together handle about 40 percent of India’s exports. A three-day shutdown of the ports following the Chitra collision stranded about $4 billion of overseas shipments, according to the Federation of Indian Export Organisations.

Two vessels left Jawaharlal Nehru Port yesterday and three docked there, Maharana said. Other vessels have been diverted to Mundra and Kandla ports, he said.

Mumbai Port has also begun limited operations, said H. Khatri, a deputy director at the government’s Directorate of Shipping, who is overseeing the clearance operations. He declined to comment on when the work may be completed.

The Chitra had 1,219 containers on board, of which 31 held hazardous chemicals and pesticides, when it collided with another ship on Aug. 7, according to the government.

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