Monsoon floods hit port operations in Mumbai


Monsoon rains are wreaking havoc on the Indian city of Mumbai, flooding vast areas of the city and halting port operations.

According to shipping agencies, cargo operations alongside berths, outer anchorages and the port lighterage area in Mumbai have been suspended since August 30.

Operations are expected to be halted until further notice, an agency spokesperson said.

Loading and unloading of containers at India’s biggest container terminal, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust terminal, were also affected for more than three hours on Wednesday.

As floods inundated the port city for the past five days, the customs online electronic data interchange systems were not working nationwide, due to server breakdowns.

Although the ports can survive without the EDI for a few days, the situation in the ports could grow worse if the system is not put into place soon as vessels’ waiting time would significantly increase.

Further, due to the flooding plus the declaration of a public holiday on Thursday, only minimal staffing was available in the port, customs and offices, affecting import and export clearances in Mumbai.

The heavy rain is a result of a low-pressure area that developed over the state of Odisha and moved westwards towards the central parts of the country.

There is also an upper air cyclonic circulation over the eastern part of the state and a trough that extends over the west coast, which led to very heavy rain over the Konkan coast, especially in Mumbai.

The combination of high tide and heavy rains had pushed water into the low-lying areas of the city, causing water logging, flooded roads and train stations and disrupting transport services.

Although no casualty has been reported in the ports, the flooding reduced trading activity in the stock market, led to power outages and flights being delayed or diverted.