© Ivan Naberezhnyy |

A recent seizure of laden import containers by Customs at Nhava Sheva is expected to lead to tightened cargo inspections and releases across Indian ports.

Nhava Sheva handles a significant portion of India’s containerised trade and is the second busiest gateway, after Mundra Port.

According to reliable industry sources, 122 containers reportedly taken off a Wan Hai Lines ship, the Wan Hai 513, have been confiscated for investigation.

“The progress of the investigation is not known yet,” a ship agent in Nhava Sheva told The Loadstar. “Officials have also not disclosed the port(s) of loading.”

However, some containers from the lot are said to have already been released and taken delivery of by importers, sources said. and the agency told the custodians: “You are directed to communicate the details of the hold containers [bill of entry details, assessment/examination status, etc].

“The consignment should be placed under CCTV surveillance 24/7, and under a lighting area till further instructions,” it added.

It is believed officials had prior intelligence about the shipment consigned to different parties. But the customs department was unavailable for comment.

Although it is not the first time import goods from China have been seized, this incident was a massive operation, according to industry sources.

As container volumes grow, Nhava Sheva terminals sporadically face cargo gate-in/out delays, and trailer executives recently voiced serious concerns over congestion and long queues at the port’s box scanning stations.

“Our members and their drivers are facing severe issues due to the vehicles being stranded for more than 24 hours in many cases,” said Nhava Sheva Container Operators’ Welfare Association, which represents trailer operators handling local container moves.

“Apart from the financial losses, we should take into consideration the current climatic situation, it is extremely hot and it is inhuman to detain the drivers under such circumstances,” the group complained.

Nhava Sheva has had a good start to fiscal year 2024-25, with April volumes up 5.5% year on year, to some 551,000 teu, according to new port data.

Trade volumes between India and China have seen strong traction in recent months, encouraging niche regional container lines, and even mainline operators, to beef up their networks.

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