Cargo Volume At Major Indian Ports Drops 22% In April-May
Shipping containers await export. (Photographer: Maurice Tsai/Bloomberg)

Cargo Volume At Major Indian Ports Drops 22% In April-May

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Cargo volume handled by India’s major ports dropped 22% during the first two months of the ongoing fiscal to 92.82 million tonnes amid the coronavirus lockdown, according to industry data.

These 12 ports had together handled 119.23 million tonnes of cargo during the April-May period of 2018-19, the Indian Ports Association said.

Ports like Chennai, Cochin and Kamrajar saw their cargo volumes tumble more than 40%, while Kolkata and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust suffered a drop of over 30% during April-May.

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), VO Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia). These ports handled 705 million tonnes of cargo in the last fiscal.

Kamarajar port saw its cargo handling decline 46% to 3.22 million tonnes in April-May, while Chennai port saw a massive 44.24% fall to 4.56 million tonnes, according to the Indian Ports Association data.

Cargo handling at Cochin port slipped 40.14% to 3.41 million tonnes, while the same at JNPT declined 33.13% to 8.02 million tonnes. Kolkata port logged a fall of 31.60% to 7.30 million tonnes.

Container trade was severely hit as it recorded a decline of 36.33% in terms of twenty foot equivalent unit, followed by 35.94% fall in thermal coal.

Ratings agency ICRA Ltd. had last month said while all cargo segments are vulnerable, container segment is expected to be more adversely impacted.

While general cargo throughput may witness 5-8% contraction for full year 2020-21, the container segment may drop 12-15%, it had said.

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