Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Aug 16, 2002
Indian ports record 10 pc growth in traffic
VISAKHAPATNAM, Aug. 15
CONTRARY to fears of a bearish trend in flow of cargoes to the Indian major ports in the wake of the economic slowdown, the port sector has recorded a 10.2 per cent growth in throughput during the first four months of the current fiscal, as compared to the corresponding period last fiscal.
The 12 major ports handled a combined throughput of 100.6 million tonnes during the last four months, as against 91.4 million tonnes handled during the first four months of last fiscal. The combined throughput also overshot the four-month target of 96.2 million tonnes set by the Ministry of Shipping for the current fiscal.
One positive aspect of the throughput trend is that out of the 12 major ports, only one port, Chennai port, recorded a negative trend the port handled 11.36 million tonnes during the April - July period this fiscal, as against 12.7 million tonnes handled during the corresponding period last fiscal, registering a 11.07 per cent fall.
The port faced the downtrend in traffic flow mainly on account of diversion of thermal and coking coal cargoes to the new port of Ennore as against 3 million tonnes of both types of coal it had handled during the April -July period last fiscal, Chennai could get 1.6 million tonnes of coal cargoes this fiscal.
Ennore, which started operations last fiscal, recorded the highest growth rate. From 3.24 lakh tonnes during the first four months of last fiscal, the throughput of Ennore port rocketed to 24.7 lakh tonnes, recording a 664 per cent increase.
In terms of growth rate, Ennore port is followed by Cochin port with 23.15 per cent increase (from 3.4 million tonnes to 4.2 million tonnes), New Mangalore port with 22.32 per cent (from 5.8 million tonnes to 7.1 million tonnes) and JNPT with 19.48 per cent (from 7.4 to 8.8 million tonnes).
As per the present trends, it appears that Vizag port will emerge as India's premier port in terms of throughput for the third consecutive year.
So far it has been able to establish a significant lead while Vizag port handled 15.75 million tonnes of cargo, its nearest rivals, Kandla and Chennai ports, handled 12.6 million tonnes and 11.3 million tonnes respectively.
According to figures released by the Indian Ports Association (IPA), almost all cargoes, except fertiliser and fertiliser raw materials, registered an increase. The major ports handled 2.7 million tonnes of fertiliser and fertiliser raw materials in the last four months, as against 3.2 million tonnes during the corresponding period last fiscal.
In what is seen as a significant signal, the biggest increase in throughput was contributed by container traffic, which was 13.9 million tonnes during the last four months, as against 11.3 million tonnes during the first four months of last fiscal.
However, port observers feel the growth in container traffic was not to the desired level, given the global trend of increased containerisation.
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