The seaborne traffic at the country’s 13 major ports increased 1.5 per cent in August 2014, against 0.5 per cent in the preceding month and a strong 7.4 per cent in this month a year ago. Nine out of 13 ports witnessed increased volume, while 4 others had to bear eroding quantity. Cochin recorded the best rate of 17.2 per cent among the ports on the back of 26 per cent increase in POL freight. Kolkata recorded 12.7 per cent increase on the back of strong growth in other industrial cargo. The freight at Chennai declined 6.9 per cent during the month due to 32 per cent decline in POL volume which was partly compensated by 5 per cent increase in container traffic.
Among the cargoes, iron ore volume declined 34 per cent and finished/raw fertilizers 22 per cent, whereas thermal coal quantity handled at the ports went up 14 per cent during August. Kandla, Mumbai and Paradip enjoyed buoyant thermal coal volume, whereas the decline in iron ore volume was concentrated at Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Haldia.
Taking April-August 2014 period (estimated by us by adding April-July port traffic data to that for August) seaborne traffic at the ports increased by around 2.9 per cent, showing improvement over 1.8 per cent in the similar period of 2013-14. Making a departure from earlier practice, Indian Ports Association has not disseminated cumulative port traffic data for April-August. Mormugao recorded 23 per cent increase, Kamarajar (Ennore) 14 per cent and V.O.Chidambaranar 10 per cent, whereas Haldia Dock suffered 8 per cent decline, New Mangalore 4 per cent and Kandla and Chennai nominal declines. Among the cargoes, raw fertilizer volume increased 26 per cent, other industrial cargo 10 per cent and thermal coal 6 per cent, even as iron ore showed 14 per cent drop during April-August.