18 Indian ships with iron ore stranded in China

Himalayan News Service

Mumbai, May 20:

Eighteen Indian ships, including 10 belonging to Mumbai-based companies, have been stranded at Chinese ports for over a month reportedly because the iron ore consignment does not meet specifications of the clients.

The ships have been stranded at Shanghai, Ningbao and Shenzhen.

"Many containers are believed to be filled with sand and stones," said sources in Mumbai Port Trust (MPT).

"The detaining of the ships, which are carrying around 90,000 tonnes, is causing great difficulty to Indian exports," MPT officials said.

The 10 ships from Mumbai belong to the Mumbai-based Exfin, Salgaocar, P F Farogi and Torrent Shipping companies. Said B K Kalia of Exfin, "The ships could not be offloaded because of berthing problems."

"We have been carrying iron ore for the last two years and none of our consignments have been ever rejected or cancelled," he said. The official added, "All our consignments are within permissible limits. Impurities vary."

The ore is said to belong to the Indian Iron and Steel Company (IISCO) and Maharashtra Elektrosmelt Ltd, both subsidiaries of the Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL).

IISCO secretary A K Mukerjee also refuted the reports. "Exporters who cannot enter the Chinese market and want us to cut prices are spreading these rumours. We have a stock of over 40 million tonnes," he said.