India’s major ports saw a 10 per cent increase in cargo traffic year-on-year for 11 moths of the fiscal (April – February), to 712.35 million tonnes (mt). Traffic in the year-ago period was 650 mt.

The rise in traffic came primarily on account of larger handling of thermal coal (up 36 per cent to 117 mt), imports of coking coal that rose 20 per cent to 54 mt and fertiliser movement which moved up by 13 per cent to 7.4 mt.

Thermal coal and coking coal shipments together account for 25 per cent of the traffic across these 12 major ports. It rose 30 per cent to 171 mt being till February. Thermal and coking coal shipments together stood at 131 mt for the comparative period last year.

Read also: Thermal, coking coal prices likely to drop further

Container traffic across the 12-odd major ports, however, saw a slight 1.20 per cent increase to 10373 TEUs (twenty – foot equivalent units); while in terms of tonnage, container traffic stood at 155 mt, up 1.34 per cent YoY. Cargo handling for 11M of last fiscal stood at 10250 TEUs or 153 mt, data from the Indian Ports Association show.

India’s major ports include Syama Prasad Mookherjee Port (formerly Kolkata Port Trust), Paradip, Vishakhapatnam, Kamarajar (or Ennore port), Chennai, VO Chidambaranar, Cochin, New Mangalore, Mormugao, Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA) and Deendayal.

Coal Handling

India is the world’s largest importer of coking coal – a key steel making input.

Syama Prasad Mookherjee Port saw a 14 per cent rise in cargo handling to 44.23 mt driven mostly by rising coking coal imports. The port – which includes Kolkata and Haldia dock systems – handled 22 mt of coking coal or 37 per cent of its traffic was coking coal related movement. Coking coal shipments rose 57 per cent YoY (14 mt in 11 months of last fiscal). Nearly 88 per cent (over 19 mt) of the coking coal shipments coming in Syama Prasad Mookherjee Port was handled through the Haldia dock system.

Other ports through which the coking coal shipments come in include Paradip (13 mt), Mormugao (7 mt), VO Chidambaranar (5 mt) and Vizag (5 mt).

Paradip saw the highest increase in cargo traffic handling, which increased by 17.37 per cent YoY to 122 mt, driven primarily by rise in coal handling. Coal handled at the port was 36 per cent of the total traffic and it increased by 63 per cent YoY to 44 mt against 27 mt in the same period last year.

Ennore Port saw a 14 per cent jump cargo traffic handling YoY to 40 mt, also driven by higher coal shipments. Nearly 50 per cent of the shipments or 20 mt of cargo from the port were coal-related. On a YoY basis, coal cargo increased 19 per cent YoY from 17 mt in the 11 months of FY23.

Other Products

Crude or petroleum-related traffic was up 7 per cent YoY to 215.24 mt.

Deendayal port witnessed the highest shipments at 57 mt — up 6 per cent; followed by Paradip and Mumbai, each handling around 34-35 mt of petroleum and crude products — up 2-6 per cent.