Kandla-Port
Photo: www.kandlaport.gov.in

Seaborne traffic at the country’s 13 major ports increased by 4.8 per cent during March, reversing the slowdown from 3.2 per cent in January to 2.5 per cent in February. The feat, however, fell short of 7.9 per cent in March 2014. Barring 12 per cent decline at Visakhapatnam where March was the fourth consecutive month of y-o-y decline, 7 per cent at Chennai where it was the second straight month of drop, and 5 per cent at JNPT, the other 10 ports recorded positive growth rates. This included 51 per cent increase at Mormugao, 25 per cent at Kolkata Port and 20 per cent at V.O. Chidambaranar. Among the cargoes, iron ore loading declined 66 per cent and raw fertiliser 27 per cent, even as finished fertiliser freight showed threefold increase.

Taking fiscal year 2014-15, the total traffic at 13 major ports increased 4.7 per cent, against 1.8 per cent in the preceding year and 2 per cent average decline in the earlier two years. Mormugao was the star performer with 25 per cent increase, marking a turnaround from steep declines in the previous two years. The port enjoyed much better loading of general industrial cargo, thermal coal and resumption of iron ore. Notwithstanding the turnaround, the business volume at Mormugao was less than a third of that in the robust-iron ore loading-marked 2010-11. Ennore (now Kamrajar) recorded 11 per cent increase on the back of enhanced POL and thermal coal. Kolkata and Haldia together witnessed 12 per cent increase, thrice the rate a year ago. Kandla Port, whose business volume had declined 7 per cent in 2013-14, staged a turnaround with 6 per cent increase during 2014-15 on the back of good pace of increase in thermal coal, iron ore, finished fertiliser and POL. Freight at New Mangalore dropped 7 per cent due to lower POL and iron ore freight. The nominal decline in loading at Visakhapatnam was due to sharply lower iron ore freight.

Among the cargoes, thermal coal, finished raw fertiliser and general industrial cargo have recorded decent rise in volume during 2014-15, even as iron ore fell for the fifth straight year. POL and containers which together form a half of the total quantity handled at the ports recorded nominal increase.

Taking a longer period of 20110-11 to 2014-15, Kandla has remained the largest port in the country, also having improved its share in freight from 14 per cent in 2010-11 to 16 per cent in 2014-15. Paradip has improved its share from 10 per cent to 12 per cent; Mumbai Port Trust and JNPT retained their share at around 11 per cent each. The share of Visakhapatnam in total freight traffic fell to 10 per cent from 12 per cent five years back due to falling iron ore and POL. Notwithstanding an improvement during 2014-15, the share of Mormugao in freight at 13 major ports dropped from 8 per cent to 2 per cent due to eroding iron ore freight, its main business area.

POL has remained the major commodity group at the ports with a little than third of total quantity handled at the ports. General industrial cargo has replaced containers as the second largest freight category, having improved its share to 21 per cent from 17 per cent five years back. Containers traffic has accounted for around 20 per cent, and thermal coal 15 per cent, improving from 8 per cent five years back. The share of iron ore dropped from 15 per cent to 3 per cent between 2010-11 and 2014-15.

By the way, freight handled at non-major ports was 75 per cent of that at the major ports during 2013-14, against 55 per cent during 2010-11.

SEABORNE CARGO AT MAJOR PORTS DURING 2014-15
000 Tonnes
% Increase over 2013-14
Kolkata Dock System
15,282
18.70
Haldia Dock Complex
31,010
8.77
Total: Kolkata
46,292
11.86
Paradip
71,011
4.42
Visakhapatnam
58,004
-0.85
Ennore (Now Kamrajar)
30,251
10.66
Chennai
52,541
2.81
V.O. Chidambaranar (earlier Tuticorin)
32,414
13.17
Cochin
21,595
3.39
New Mangalore
36,566
-7.11
Mormugao
14,711
25.32
Mumbai
61,660
4.18
JNPT
63,802
2.36
Kandla
92,497
6.31
Total
581,344
4.65
Classification by Cargo
POL
188,889
0.88
Iron ore
16,541
-36.92
Finished fertiliser
7,914
29.67
Raw fertiliser
8,467
11.39
Thermal coal
85,902
20.36
Coking coal
32,824
0.22
Containers
119,379
4.11
Other cargo
121,428
10.87
Total
581,344
4.65

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