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Major ports see 6 per cent drop in cargo volumes in April - 2013-05-10

Major ports in the country handled 6.2 per cent less cargo in April this year compared with the same period last year, largely due to a dip in cargo volume at Mormugao Port in Goa as well as Mumbai Port. The total cargo handled by major ports stood at 43 million tonnes in April this year compared to 46 million tonnes during the same month last year, data released by Indian Ports Association showed. During this period, only five major ports in the country registered a positive growth in cargo.

Mormugao Port, which has been struggling to attract cargo after a ban on iron ore mining in Karnataka and Goa, recorded a 77 per cent fall in its cargo volume during April, while congested Mumbai Port reported a drop of more than 30 per cent. Surprisingly, the country's largest container port,
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, also posted a dip in cargo volume at the port as it saw traffic fall by more than 6 per cent during the month. JNPT's container volumes have been affected largely due to a rise in the number of private ports on the west coast of the country.

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone operates the country's largest private port in the country at Mundra in Gujarat and APM terminals operate the Pipavav Port in Gujarat, which lie close to JNPT and have been attracting cargo from the government-controlled port. JNPT has also been struggling due to capacity constraints as the port currently operates at more than 100 per cent of its capacity.

Ennore Port and Paradip Port, both on the east coast of the country, have seen a rise in cargo volume with traffic at both ports rising by more than 40 per cent during the month. While major ports in the country have been struggling to attract cargo largely due to inadequate infrastructure and also due to lack of interest among private operators to invest in port facilities, state-owned minor ports, which account for more than 40 per cent of the cargo, have been taking away large portion of the cargo meant for major ports.

Major ports have also registered a dip as cargo traffic during the financial year ended March 2013 fell by 2.58 per cent to 545.68 million tonnes, according to the shipping ministry. Cargo handled by 12 major ports stood at 545.68 million tonnes, including 93.62 million tonnes at
Kandla Port, during 2012-13, shipping minister GK Vasan said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. Major ports had handled 560.13 million tonnes of cargo in 2011-12 while it was 596.03 million tonnes in 2010-11. Port capacity stood at 747.51 million tonnes at the end of the last fiscal, whereas the government had envisaged a capacity of 1001.8 million tonnes by March 2012.

In their recent reports on the port sector in the country,
Barclays had said that the share of minor ports in handling cargo is only expected to rise further while major ports are likely to slip due to capacity constraints at major ports and better infrastructure and connectivity at minor ports.

Source: The Economic Times