The seaborne traffic at the country’s 13 major ports declined 2.8 per cent in January, the fourth y-o-y drop in the current fiscal, and a setback when viewed against 5.7 per cent rebound in December (after y-o-y declines in the earlier two months). As many as nine out of 13 ports ended the month with annual decline: Kandla recorded 18 per cent decline—this was the fifth straight month of y-o-y erosion in traffic; Haldia reported 16 per cent decline, P.O.Chidambaranar (earlier Tuticorin) 14 per cent, Chennai 10 per cent; and Paradip, Visakhapatnam, New Mangalore, JNPT and Mormugao single digit declines. Among the four ports recording improved loading, freight at Ennore rose 29 per cent due to booming thermal coal; and that at Mumbai 22 per cent due to improved POL volume. Among the cargoes, fertilizer freight declined 16 per cent, coking coal 25 per cent and general industrial cargo 15 per cent. Thermal cargo has lost its initial velocity, increasing 2 per cent after 6 per cent decline in December and 36 per average during April-November. However, Iron ore which was on the downhill during April-July, is on the rise in the subsequent months. Its volume increased 19 percent in January, after 22 per cent increase in December and 132 percent shoot-up in November. POL volume increased 11 per cent in January, whereas containers goods declined 7 per cent.
Taking April-January 2013-14 period, Ennore Port has enjoyed booming business, thanks to burgeoning thermal coal quantity. Freight volume at the port was up 57 per cent during the period. Freight volume at Paradip was up 22 per cent thanks to iron ore, thermal coal and POL business and that at New Mangalore was up 7 per cent cumulatively due to iron ore and thermal/coking coal. Business volume at Mormugao was down 40 per cent due to absence of iron ore, the main business, though the drop has got somewhat muted due to coking coal and general industrial cargo. Business volume at Chennai, Kandla, and JNPT suffered 4-6 per cent decline in freight volume.
Among the cargoes, thermal cargo shot up 26 per cent, against 44 per cent during H1. Iron ore freight was down 15 per cent (even after taking into account y-o-y increases during August-January). Booming thermal coal loading helped Ennore and Paradip, apart from New Mangalore and Kandla. Two per cent increase in POL business was concentrated in Paradip, Mumbai and New Mangalore, even as Kandla, the main port in this merchandise witnessed some decline in its volume. Eroding finished fertilizer freight was noticed mainly in Kandla and Visakhapatnam; 4.5 per cent drop in container volume was concentrated in JNPT and Chennai.