Statistics Shipping

Published on February 10th, 2017


Will Demonetization Scuttle Growth Rate at 12 Major Ports This Year?

India’s 12 state-owned ports together loaded 7.14% more cargo or 535.351 million tonnes (mt) between April 2016 and January 2017, led mainly by a 169% growth in iron ore loadings.

These dozen ports located at Kandla, Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, V O Chidambaranar, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Paradip, Ennore and Kolkata, handled a combined 499.686 mt of cargo during April 2015 and January 2016.

The 12 ports handled a combined 606.374 mt of cargo in the year ended March 2016 from 581.344 mt in the year to March 2015, posting a growth of 4.31%.

It is not clear whether the 12 ports will handle cargo volumes recorded in 2015-16 or even surpass it during the remaining 49 days of the current fiscal, with at least one port official saying that the effect of scrapping of highly value currency notes in November 2016 was just beginning to bite.

“January and February so far has been discouraging compared with November and December when there was a big jump in cargo,” says the traffic manager of one of the 12 ports which is located on the western coast. During 40 days in January and February, I’ve lost 50 lakh tons, he said, asking not to be named.

Cargo handled by the 12 ports after demonetization of high value currency has shown a growth in comparison to the same period last year, deputy shipping minister Mansukh L. Mandavia told Parliament in a written reply on 6 February.

The shipping ministry said that the dozen ports handled 370 mt of cargo between April and October 2016. During November and December, the 12 ports loaded 54 mt (growth of 11.2% over last year) and 56.6 mt (growth of 12.7% over last year) respectively.

The 12 ports handle about 53% of India’s external trade by volume shipped by sea very year.

None of these ports are listed because they are run as trusts.

During the ten months of the current financial year that began in April, the 12 so-called major ports or those owned by the union government, handled a combined 38.615 mt of iron ore including pellets from 14.377 mt a year earlier, clocking a growth of 168.59%, according to statistics compiled by the Indian Ports Association, an autonomous agency of the government.

The surge in iron ore shipments was led by Mormugao Port which handed 11.187 mt of the steel making commodity from 2.294 mt a year ago.

Paradip, Visakhapatnam, New Mangalore and Mumbai also registered a surge in iron ore loadings.

The rise in iron ore loadings at the 12 major ports is an indication that the commodity is again playing a key role in the operations of major ports. These ports were hit badly by a court imposed ban on production and export of iron ore since October 2012.

In early 2015, India’s top court partially lifted the ban to allow production and export of iron ore, with 20 mt from Goa alone.

The jump in iron ore loadings also compensates for a fall in the shipments of coal, both thermal and coking, during April to January 2017.

Thermal and steam coal loadings fell 9.62% to 78.403 mt from 86.746 mt a year earlier after state-run coal miner Coal India Ltd ramped up production to reduce imports.

Coking coal handled by the 12 ports declined 2.61% to 39.543 mt from 40.602 mt a yar earlier.

India’s coal production rose from 565.77 mt in 2013-14 to 639.23 mt in 2015-16. “On account of increased production by Coal India in 2015-16, coal imports have fallen from 217.78 mt in 2014-15 to 199.88 mt in 2015-16,” Piyush Goyal, minister of state (IC) for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, told Parliament recently.

Crude oil and petroleum products including LNG and LPG loadings grew 8.32% during April and January to 175.393 mt from 161.926 mt a year ago.

Other miscellaneous cargo rose 14.23% to 66.038 mt from 57.810 mt a year ago.

The 12 state-owned ports handled a combined 7.025 million twenty foot equivalent units or TEUs during April-January period, an increase of 3.66% from the 6.777 million TEUs handled a year earlier.

A TEU is the standard size of a container and a common measure of capacity in the container business.

Jawaharlal Nehru port, India’s busiest container gateway located near Mumbai, loaded 3.752 million TEUs in the ten months, up from 3.734 million TEUs a year ago.

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