Time running out in Kolkata

Time is fast running out for Kolkata port, which has been grappling with disruptions ever since a bridge connecting the southwest of the city collapsed on September 4th. Restrictions have been imposed on movements of goods vehicles and cargo despatches have declined. The port is now under threat of a container pile up, according to local reports citing officials.

In the immediate aftermath of the bridge collapse container movement from the port fell sharply to around 900 a day, compared with an average of around 1,700 to 2,000.

Restrictions were imposed and goods vehicles were allowed to ply for only seven hours a day compared with 16 before the accident took place. Also, they were initially allowed to ply only at night, between 11pm and 6am. Goods vehicles are now being allowed to ply for up to 10 hours at night and three hours during daytime, said a Kolkata Port Trust official. Despatches are now down by only around 15%, or about 300 containers a day, but the port official said that the situation was not sustainable. not least because the port and other related authorities, such as customs, were not geared to work 10 hours every night.