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Maritime News

Dip in iron ore loading flattens Gangavaram port traffic growth - 2012-04-30

Gangavaram Port Ltd, which operates the country's deepest-draft port (21 m) near Visakhapatnam, has fallen short of its cargo throughput target owing primarily to a slide in iron ore loadings last fiscal.

The port managed to notch up a cargo throughput of 14 million tonnes, as against 13.93 mt handled in the previous year. It had set itself a target of 16-17 mt, based on demand projections. This may upset its plans to reach its full existing capacity of 25 mt within the set deadline.

The port has attributed the flat growth primarily to a dip in iron ore traffic, which fell to 2.14 mt from 2.58 mt, accounting for a share of about 15 per cent of its cargo basket. This is in tune with the trends across all major ports, which saw a dip of 1.73 per cent in their combined throughput at 560 mt (570 mt), for the first time in years.

This was an upshot of a fall in iron ore movement, after the ban on mining in Karnataka and a move by the Government to save the raw material for the domestic steel sector.

Coal traffic

Overall, India's iron ore exports sank by nearly 17 mt, or 30.39 per cent — the major ports handled 60 mt of the commodity last year (87 mt). Coal continues to be the mainstay of Gangavaram port.

It handled 9.95 mt of coal during the year (9.52 mt), accounting for over 70 per cent of its throughput, according to an official release. The port is, however, keen on shifting away from coal, with plans to bring down its share to 50 per cent, when its total capacity reaches 45 mt after the expansion in the next two years.

Expansion project

Despite the flat growth in traffic, it is speeding up its Rs 1,200-crore expansion project, which involves a debt component of Rs 900 crore.The expansion plan involves construction of four berths — one exclusively for coal and three multi-purpose berths — to enhance its cargo handling capacity from the current 25 mt to 45 mt.

Source : Hindu Business Line