Our Bureau

Reasons for fall

Small exporters

keep away due to drop in margin

Availability

of fewer rakes

Kolkata, April 28

Iron ore exports through Haldia and Paradip ports have shown a downward trend so far in the current month, which is also the first month of the current fiscal, as compared to the same month of the previous year.

The extent of shortfall in Paradip, according to port sources, is estimated at three lakh tonnes or so. The port handled one million tonnes of ore exports in April 2005; the figure might drop to around seven lakh tonnes or so in the current month.

Haldia too presents the same picture, though the shortfall is much less, about 40,000 tonnes or so around 7.1 lakh tonnes so far in the current month as compared to 7.5 lakh tonnes in the same month of the last year.

Drop in export margin

The shortfall, according to Paradip port sources, might be due to the virtual disappearance of smaller exporters from the scene as a sequel to the drop in margin in exports. The international price of ore at present is much lower than what it was during the same time last year. As a result, many smaller exporters, mostly fly-by-night operators, are virtually on the brink. Only the bigger players with capacity to absorb shocks are surviving.

Fewer rakes

Haldia dock sources attributed the drop in iron ore exports to availability of fewer rakes than before but added that the lull in traffic flow is not something unusual during this time of the year. The throughputs of several other commodities such as crude, thermal coal and coking coal too have dropped during this period.

Inquiries with the railways reveal that a little more than one rake of ore on an average is being loaded and dispatched to Haldia as against two rakes previously from the Chakradharpur division of the South Eastern Railway.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 29, 2006)
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