Cargo handling at India’s major ports plunges 20pc

Updated 04 Jul 2020

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India’s 12 state-run major ports handled 141.9 million tonnes of shipments in the quarter ended June 30, compared with 176.7 million tonnes the previous year. — AFP/File
India’s 12 state-run major ports handled 141.9 million tonnes of shipments in the quarter ended June 30, compared with 176.7 million tonnes the previous year. — AFP/File

CHENNAI: Major ports in India, which handle more than half of the country’s seaborne trade, had a nearly 20 per cent fall in traffic during the quarter ended June, the Indian Ports Association (IPA) said, as coronavirus lockdowns slowed economic activity.

India’s 12 state-run major ports handled 141.9 million tonnes of shipments in the quarter ended June 30, compared with 176.7 million tonnes the previous year, the IPA data showed.

The handling of major types of shipments such as crude oil, coal and containers fell, except for iron ore and fertilizers, the data showed.

The data showed that iron ore traffic rose 18.83pc in the quarter, which Atul Kulkarni, an analyst at CRU Group, said was a result of higher exports due to weak local demand for steel and clearance of stockpiles by miners in the south-western state of Goa.

“Exports will be lower for the rest of the year, as local demand increases and global logistics and supply of iron ore improves,” Kulkarni said.

Thermal coal imports fell nearly 35pc due to reduced power demand, while coking coal demand fell 29pc as local demand and production of steel fell.

Major ports make up 20-25pc of India’s annual imports of the fuel.

Five of the 12 ports handled 63pc of all shipments, IPA said, with Paradip on the east coast handling the highest traffic.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2020