Major ports’ cargo handling drops by 18% to 193 million tonnes in April-July, 2020

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The VLOC berth at China's Yantai Port. Courtesy: Yantai Port website

COVID-19 disruptions and lockdowns caused major ports in  India to witness a continued fall in cargo handling. The cargo handling capacity of major ports registered a 18.06 per cent drop to 193.38 million tonnes between April and July this fiscal, according to the Indian Ports Association (IPA).

Cargo volumes at these 12 major ports under the control of the Centre declined for the fourth straight month in July 2020 and all ports barring Mormugao saw a negative growth. These 12 ports had together handled 236.01 million tonnes of cargo during April-July 2018-19, the ports body said.

Ports like Chennai, Cochin and Kamrajar saw their cargo volumes nosedive over 30 per cent during April-July, while JNPT and Kolkata suffered a drop of over 20 per cent.

India has 12 major ports under the control of the central government — Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla), Mumbai, JNPT, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Kamarajar (earlier Ennore), V O Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia).

These ports handle about 61 per cent of the country’s total cargo traffic. These ports handled 705 million tonnes of cargo last fiscal.

While Chennai port saw 32.53 per cent decline in cargo handling to 11.08 million tonnes, Kamarajar (Ennore) port suffered a drop of 35.64 per cent to 7 million tonnes in April-July, as per IPA data. Cochin Port saw a dip of 32.78 per cent to 7.76 million tonnes during the period.

Cargo handling at JNPT port slipped 27.69 per cent to 16.94 million tonnes, while the same at Kolkata declined 26.09 per cent to 16.05 million tonnes. Mumbai port logged a fall of 19.79 per cent to 15.85 million tonnes. In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, sharp declines were witnessed in handling of containers, coal and POL (petroleum, oil and lubricant) among other commodities.

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