India’s major ports saw a 5 per cent-odd y-o-y increase in cargo traffic, including container movement, to 819.3 million tonnes (mt), driven by rising iron ore exports and increasing coking coal imports.

Cargo traffic in the earlier fiscal (FY23) was 784.3 mt, data by the Indian Ports Association, accessed by businessline , show.

Coking coal and PCI shipments (including metcoke) coming in increased by 10.24 per cent to 65 mt last fiscal against the 59 mt reported in the year-ago-period, primarily on the back of strong demand in the country and an increased production. Steel consumption increased 14 er cent to 136 mt, while finished steel production was up 12.4 per cent to 138.5 mt. Coking coal is a key steel-making raw material and India is amongst the largest importers globally.

On the other hand, iron ore shipments was up at 61 mt, up 33 per cent y-o-y over the 46 mt in Fy23. Increased buying from China, specially till January, took outbound shipments to a three-year-high.

The other segment that saw increased movement was petroleum offerings, which stood at 246 mt, up 5 per cent y-o-y . Shipments – inbound and outbound both – in the petroleum, oils and lubricant category was at 234 mt a year back.

India’s major ports – run by the Shipping Ministry - include Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port (formerly Kolkata Port Trust) that includes both the Kolkata and Haldia dock systems together, Paradip, Vishakhapatnam, Kamarajar (or Ennore port), Chennai, VO Chidambaranar, Cochin, New Mangalore, Mormugao, Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA) and Deendayal.

Port-wise performance

Mormugao saw the highest increase in traffic in percentage terms, by nearly 19 per cent to 21 million in FY24. It was at 17 mt in FY23. The rise came on the back of increased iron ore exports to 5 mt, up 117 per cent y-o-y. Traffic across all other categories, like petroleum, coking coal and thermal coal saw a decline.

Paradip, reported the highest cargo traffic at 145.4 mt, up 8 per cent y-o-y. The port saw a near 14 per cent increase in coking coal shipments coming in 15.4 mt, against the 13.4 mt in the year-ago period; while iron ore shipments saw a 40 per cent increase to 18.5 mt. Petroleum and thermal coal shipments remained flat.

Haldia dock, part of the Syama Prasad Mookherjee Port, saw the highest shipment of coking coal at 21 mt, same as last year’s levels. Coking coal shipments at the port (Haldia and Kolkata together) remained flat at 23 mt levels.

Deendayal port was the only one that saw traffic decline, by 4 per cent y-o-y to 133 mt. It stood at 138 mt, in the year-ago-period.