Cargo volume handled by the country’s major ports dropped 22 percent during the first two months of the ongoing fiscal to 92.82 million tonnes (MT) amid the coronavirus lockdown, as per industry data. These 12 ports had together handled 119.23 MT of cargo during April-May period of 2018-19, the Indian Ports Association (IPA) said.
Ports like Chennai, Cochin and Kamrajar saw their cargo volumes nosedive over 40 percent, while Kolkata and JNPT suffered a drop of over 30 percent during April-May.
India has 12 major ports under the control of the central government — Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla), Mumbai, JNPT, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Kamarajar (earlier Ennore), V O Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia). These ports handled 705 MT of cargo in the last fiscal.
Kamarajar port saw its cargo handling decline by 46 percent to 3.22 MT in April-May, while Chennai port saw a massive 44.24 percent fall to 4.56 MT, as per IPA data.
Cargo handling at Cochin port slipped 40.14 percent to 3.41 MT, while the same at JNPT declined 33.13 percent to 8.02 MT. Kolkata port logged a fall of 31.60 percent to 7.30 MT.
Container trade was severely hit as it recorded a decline of 36.33 percent in terms of TEU (twenty foot equivalent unit), followed by 35.94 percent fall in thermal coal.
Ratings agency Icra had last month said that while all cargo segments are vulnerable, container segment is expected to be more adversely impacted.
While general cargo throughput may witness 5-8 percent contraction for full year 2020-21, the container segment may drop 12-15 percent, it had said.