SINGAPORE’s PSA International is looking to considerably delay its second-phase terminal development at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) – India’s busiest public container gateway – a move linked to growing capacity utilisation concerns in an already oversupplied market along with heightened Covid-19 demand challenges.

The company recently filed an application with landlord authority JNPT seeking to push back the original targeted end-2022 Phase II opening to March 2026, a delay of more than three years, local port sources said.

PSA holds a 30-year concession for Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals (BMCT), designed to provide a combined 4.8 million TEU of capacity annually when complete. The first phase began operations in early 2018.

“It is not unreasonable for PSA to push back further capacity additions in a slowing and uncertain market,” an industry observer who did not want to be identified.

Sources said PSA also moved a request to extend the concession term by three years to factor in the anticipated delay after missing a contracted construction deadline of December 2019 for the new phase. This suggests a project rescheduling plan had been creeping up for some time. “The revised proposal [from PSA] is being examined in detail,” a port source said.

JNPT and PSA Mumbai were unavailable for comment.

BMCT currently sports a berth line of 1,000 metres, a 222-acre storage yard with 9,336 ground slots, four rail-mounted gantry cranes, and 36 rubber-tyre gantry cranes. The company’s sophisticated rail yard – capable of servicing 1.5-kilometre double stack trains with capacities of up to 360 TEU – is the bigger draw vis-a-vis its peers in the region.

With the addition of a new intra-Asia routing that debuted last week, PSA Mumbai hosts six weekly sailings at present. The latest entrant is a six-vessel joint operation between Wan Hai Lines, Interasia Lines, Sinokor Merchant Marine, Heung-A Line, and Feedertech.

“With more new services coming to PSA Mumbai in Q1 2021 and more new products to be rolled out, we are looking forward to increasing our role in facilitating India’s maritime trade in 2021,” BMCT managing director Sivakumar Kaliannan said.