Cargo handled by Indian ports fell for the second straight month in February on account of Chinese New Year and trade war tensions.
Ports across the country handled 55.01 million tonnes of cargo last month, a decline of 1.2 percent over the last year, according to a release by the Indian Ports Association. Volume growth dropped 2.2 percent year-on-year in January this year.
The slowdown was witnessed across categories such as iron ore, fertilisers, thermal coal and liquid cargo, while coking coal, containers and other miscellaneous cargo reported growth in volume in February. Container volumes grew 7 percent on a yearly basis during the reporting month, lower than 19.2 percent growth seen in February 2018.
Container volumes remained weak in February partly due to high base but ports across western, southern and eastern region reported “broad-based” growth, according to Kotak Institutional Equities. Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd.’s portfolio—Mundra, Hazira, Ennore and Kattupalli—have reported volume growth in line with other major ports but lost market share to Kandla port within the west coast cluster, it said in a report.
Pulkit Patni, analyst at Goldman Sachs, expects stocks like Adani Ports, Gujarat Pipavav Port Ltd. and Container Corporation of India Ltd. to gain as overall volumes rose.
But HSBC sounded cautious due to rising trade war tensions with the U.S., India’s biggest export destination. Parash Jain, analyst at the brokerage, however, expects share prices of Adani Ports and Gujarat Pipavav Port to rise as they continue to gain market share from state-owned ports.