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Major ports' throughput meets Ministry H1 target

Amit Mitra

VISAKHAPATNAM, Oct. 24

DESPITE a dip in the flow of traffic to the 13 major ports in the country during the last two months, the combined throughput of the ports during the first-half of the current fiscal meets the target set by the Ministry of Shipping.

According to figures released by the Indian Ports Association (IPA), the throughput of the major ports during the April-September period also surpassed that of the corresponding period of last fiscal.

The major ports have handled 150.26 million tonnes of traffic during the first half year of the current fiscal, surpassing the Ministry's target of 143.88 millions by 4.43 per cent and the throughput of 138.74 millions handled during the corresponding period of 2001-02 by 8.31 per cent.

There apparently has been a slowdown in cargo throughput during the past two months given that the major ports had posted better results during the four months of the fiscal showing a 10.2 per cent growth in traffic compared to the performance of April-July 2001.

The IPA figures show that all major ports, barring Kolkata Dock System and Chennai, have registered a positive growth, as compared to their performances last fiscal.

While the Ennore port, which was commissioned last year, accounted for the best growth rate of 278.72 per cent, New Mangalore ranked next with 25.22 per cent followed by Kochi (20.62 per cent), JNPT (19.60 per cent), Paradip (13.46 per cent) and Haldia Dock Complex (11.70 per cent).

Kolkata and Chennai have slipped by seven and 9.66 per cent respectively.

In terms of the targets set for the April-September period, except for Tuticorin, all other ports are ahead by margins ranging from 0.14 per cent (Visakhapatnam) to 23.48 per cent (New Mangalore).

Overall, Vizag port seems all set to emerge as India's premier port this fiscal once again. The Vizag port, which handled 23 million tonnes during the last six months, is followed by Kandla port with 19.7 million tonnes and Chennai port with 17.2 million tonnes.

However, Vizag port experienced a slight dip in traffic flow during the last two months, due to diversion of some crude carrying VLCCs (very large crude carriers) to Kakinada and Haldia, and thermal coal to Paradip where the handling system has been mechanised.

The port has been able to sustain the positive trend due to the rise in foodgrains and coking coal traffic, the former going up additionally by one million tonnes, the sources pointed out.

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