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India: Growth in cargo handled at major ports slows

Thursday, 17 December 2015 | 00:00

Falling iron ore volumes has slowed the growth of cargo handled by the country’s 12 major ports in the April-November period.

The cargo volume handled by the major ports, at 397 million tonnes, rose 3.32 per cent during the period over the year-ago period. The cargo growth was 5.20 per cent, at 384 million tonnes, in April-November 2014.

Kameswara Rao, leader, energy, utilities and mining, PwC-India, said Indian iron ore exporters have been hit as Australian mines have increased production despite lean demand, and selling cheaper ore. This has displaced less competitive producers. Domestic and global iron ore prices declined by 31-34 per cent over the past year, making it less economical for producers, he added.

On the import front, “Iron ore imports are always very small, in fact negligible. For example, in 2013-14, the imports were 0.37 MT and exports were 16 MT. Similarly, in 2011-12, imports were 0.98 MT and exports were 45 MT. As you can see, iron ore is a predominantly export commodity for us, and changes in imports are very small and do not represent any trend,” said Rao.

While the volume of iron ore handled decreased, the volumes of coal, thermal and coking, rose 9.25 per cent. Fertiliser, including finished and raw material, rose 4.25 per cent and other cargo by 7.56 per cent. This propelled cargo volumes at the ports.

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The 12 major ports in the country witnessed a year-on-year growth of 3.32 per cent in traffic during April to November 15. Mormugao (Goa), VO Chidambaranar (Tamil Nadu), and Kolkata port trusts outpaced the sector’s numbers, registering more than 10 per cent growth, according to data.

Mormugao registered the highest growth of 27 per cent, followed by VO Chidambaranar (18.80 per cent), and Kolkata (14.53 per cent).

Analysts said these ports achieved better growth during April to November this year against the corresponding period a year ago, on the back of domestic thermal coal requirements for the power sector, coking coal, and an increase in other cargo.

ICRA said the major ports were likely to achieve better growth in the current financial year against a year ago. The major ports registered a modest growth of 4.7 per cent in cargo handled at 581 MT in FY15, on account of weaker cargo performance.
Source: Business Standard

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