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Major ports report dip in cargo handling - 2012-03-05

India’s 12 major ports have reported a dip in cargo handling in the April-January period mainly due to 25 per cent decline in iron ore exports.

“Cargo traffic at Centre-owned ports recorded a drop of 0.2 per cent in April-January 2012 to 467.1 million tonnes (MT) over the ten-month period last fiscal. These ports have suffered huge losses of business due to curb on ore exports,” a top Shipping Ministry official told PTI. Losses in monetary terms are yet to be assessed, he said, adding that “the cargo handling in January this year has decreased by 5.4 per cent to 48.9 MT as compared to January 2011“.

The ports which suffered losses of business include Mormugao, Haldia, Chennai, Kolkata, Paradip, Mumbai and Kandla. “The traffic handled by Mormugao port took a nosedive and recorded the maximum decline of 17.5 per cent in the ten-month period followed by 8.4 per cent dip by Haldia dock and 7.4 per cent drop recorded by Chennai port,” the official said.Kolkata, Paradip, Mumbai and Kandla ports recorded dip 3.7 per cent, 1.3 per cent, 1 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively.

Iron ore exports from the country last fiscal came down to 97.64 million tonne (MT). In the first ten-month period of the current fiscal, exports dipped by 25 per cent to 52.12 MT vis-a-vis the corresponding period last fiscal.

India, the world’s third-largest iron ore exporter. Ports are dependent on cargo and iron ore contributes significantly to their business.Iron ore exports have witnessed a negative growth, following duty hike in the Budget and a slew of events, including the ban on exports of the raw material from Karnataka since July, 2010, following allegations of widespread illegal mining.Production of iron ore in around 45 mines in Goa has also been shutdown due to environmental reasons. An informal export ban is also in place in Odisha. States mainly depend on ports for exports and iron ore constitute bulk of the cargo from ports.India has 12 major ports along its 7,517 km coastline, six each on the West and East coast - Kolkata including Haldia, Paradip, Vizag, Chennai, Tuticorin, Cochin, New Mangalore, Murmugao, Mumbai, JNPT, Ennore and Kandla.

These ports along with non-major ports handle about 90 per cent by volume and 70 per cent by value of India’s international trade.

Source: Hindu Business Line