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February exports slow down due to container shortage, rise in covid cases

Exporters hit by shortage of containers

Shortage of containers is hitting the exports sector. February data showed that there has been a marginal decline of 0.25 per cent to $27.67 billion as exporters had no containers to ship their goods.

Until now, India has mostly relied on Chinese containers but as Beijing’s exports rise, these containers are in short supply. Along with this there have been “some” disruptions in supply too due to rise in Covid cases within the country. Further an increase in imports in February by about 7 per cent to $40.55 billion compared to the same period during the previous fiscal led to a trade deficit of $12.88 billion — an increase of 25.84 per cent during the month.

“We need to address the issue of containers at the earliest especially as we focus on boosting exports on one hand and reducing imports on the other,” Ajay Sahai, director general, Federation of Indian Export Organisation told India Narrative. 

Meanwhile, the the government is looking at manufacturing containers in a big way while developing a shipping line under the Atmanirbhar Bharat programme. Containers are required to ship goods. At present, India is solely dependent on the public sector Shipping Corporation of India.

While the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has already set up a committee to study the feasibility of manufacturing containers at Bhavnagar in Gujarat, sources said that other such hubs are also being looked at.