Thermal coal drives port traffic during April-August

Thermal coal drives port traffic during April-August

Dr. M.S KapadiaThe seaborne traffic at the country’s 13 major ports was up 7.5 per cent during August, improving from 5 per cent in July, 2.7 per cent in June. Stagnation in May and 6.2 per cent and 2.7 per cent decline during April. The acceleration in port traffic was mainly due to thermal coal that shot up over 10 million tones, or 48 per cent, during April-August annually, the increase having been spread over all the five months of the current fiscal. Iron ore freight fell over the period (relative to year-ago volume), even as August witnessed an increase, breaking the eroding trend of past several months. POL freight resumed uptrend in August, after declines in June and July. Coking coal quantity declined 27 per cent, following the reduction in the growth rate from 19 per cent in June to 6 per cent in July. Container volume has continued to erode, and finished, raw fertilizer volume fell in August. General industrial cargo increased 18 per cent in August, twice the rate in July and against 4 per cent decline in Q1.

Among the ports, Ennore Port has been enjoying booming business in the current fiscal, thanks to burgeoning thermal coal quantity: Freight volume at the port was up 69 per cent in August, over 74 per cent in July and 58 per cent in June, which led to 57 per cent rise over April-August period. Reflecting wide ranging improvement, freight at Paradip was also up 21 per cent in August and 38 per cent during April-August. Seaborne traffic at Mumbai Port consolidated with 13 percent rise, from 4 per cent in July and 14 per cent decline during April-June, though over the first five months of the current fiscal, the volume at the port was still 6 per cent less annually. Business volume at Mormugao continued to sag, with the cumulative decline placed at 64 percent. Obviously, coking coal and general industrial cargo have failed to compensate for the huge loss on account of total loss of iron ore loading which was placed at 7.42 million tones during April-August 2012.

Taking the first five months of the ongoing fiscal, seaborne freight at the 13 major ports was up 1.85 per cent, consolidating from 0.5 per cent increase till July and one per cent decline over Q1. While the business increased 57 per cent at Ennore, 38 per cent at Paradip and 12 per cent at New Mangalore, it fell 64 per cent at Mormugao. Thermal coal loading/offloading shot up 48 per cent during April-August, which benefited mainly Ennore, Paradip and Kandla in that order. POL, fertilizer, coking coal and general industrial freight was up 3-4 per cent. Containerized volume declined 5 per cent and iron ore 44 per cent during April-August.

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