Cargo traffic at major Indian ports showing signs of increase in November

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After eight months of contraction, cargo traffic at the major ports grew by 3% y-o-y in November 2020. For the April-November period, the traffic has fallen by 10.5% y-o-y — only Mormugao port has seen a higher volume of cargo in the current financial year than a year ago.

The cargo volumes for POL (Port of Loading), coal, and containers have declined while that for fertiliser and iron ore have increased from a year ago.

Adversely impacted by Covid-19 pandemic, India’s top 12 ports had witnessed a considerable decline in cargo traffic, according to ports sector industry body Indian Ports Association (IPA).

Cargo traffic at 12 major ports that are under the control of the Centre dropped by 10.53 per cent to 414.30 million tonnes (MT) during April-November period of the current fiscal compared to 463.05 million tonnes during April-November of the last fiscal.

Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had recently said the cargo traffic at 12 major ports declined considerably March onwards due to the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

All ports barring Mormugao – which recorded a 17.58 per cent increase in cargo handling to 12.20 million tonnes – saw a negative growth.

Cargo handling at Kamrajar Port (Ennore) nosedived 29.65 per cent during April-November to 14.46 million tonnes, while ports like Chennai, Cochin and Mumbai saw their cargo volumes dropping by about 17 per cent during the said period. Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust(JNPT) suffered a sharp decline of 15 per cent.

Deendayal Port reported a 10.15 per cent drop in cargo volume while VO Chidambarnar recorded a dip of 11.97 per cent and cargo handling at New Mangalore dropped by over 7 per cent. Paradip Port recorded a decline of 1.38 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).

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

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