Long queues of lorries and days of waiting time in the port have deterred the growth of the Chennai port. The third oldest major port in the country lost a huge chunk of cargo to competitors because of this.
Today, with the intervention of technology and management, the port has drastically reduced the waiting time. The average truck visit times from container freight stations to port gates was about 40 hours in 2014. This was reduced to 15 hours at the beginning of this year. On 1 June, a study by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has calculated the wait time at the port to be just 7 hours.
With the help of JICA, the port had taken several stringent measures. These included, re-laying of the port approach road, opening a document screening centre outside the harbour to prevent trucks from entering the queue without complete shipping documents and incentives to lure shippers to use rail. Recently the port has installed radio-frequency identification technology for gate operations.
The port has a capacity of 3 million TEUs. For years, its annual traffic has hovered around the 1.5 million TEU mark. Cyril George, Port Chairman assured that they were geared towards zero congestion and will soon attract several major carriers.