Hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s top 12 ports continue to witness considerable decline in cargo traffic registering a 14 per cent dip in the first half of the current fiscal to 298.55 million tonnes (MT), according to ports’ apex body IPA. Cargo volumes at these 12 major ports under the control of the Centre that had handled 348.23 MT during April-September of the last fiscal has declined for the sixth straight month in September 2020.
Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya last month said the cargo traffic at 12 major ports declined considerably March onwards, adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 12 major ports handled 298.55 MT of cargo between April and September this fiscal, according to the Indian Ports Association (IPA) which said that the “percentage variation against previous year traffic during April to September 2020 vis-a-vis April to September 2019” has been 14.27 per cent.
Impacted by disruptions caused due to COVID-19, all ports barring Mormugao saw a negative growth.
Cargo handling at Kamrajar Port (Ennore) nosedived 31.63 per cent during April-September, while ports like Chennai, Cochin and JNPT saw their cargo volumes drop over 20 per cent during the said period.
Kolkata and Mumbai ports suffered a sharp decline of over 15 per cent.
India has 12 major ports under the control of the central government — Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla), Mumbai, JNPT, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Kamarajar (earlier Ennore), V O Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia).
While Kamarajar port saw 31.63 per cent decline in cargo handling to 10.77 MT, Chennai port suffered a drop of 25.71 per cent to 18.38 MT in April-September, as per IPA data.
Cochin Port saw a dip of 24.42 per cent to 12.58 MT during the period.
Cargo handling at JNPT port slipped 21.71 per cent to 26.94 MT, while the same at Kolkata declined 18.78 per cent to 25.56 MT. Mumbai port logged a fall of 18.74 per cent to 24.45 MT.
In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, sharp declines were witnessed in handling of containers, coal and POL (petroleum, oil and lubricant) among other commodities.
These ports handle about 61 per cent of the country’s total cargo traffic. They handled 705 MT of cargo last fiscal.
Last month, Mandaviya told Parliament: “There was a considerable decline in the total traffic, containers traffic and other than containers traffic in March, April, May, June, July and August, 2020 as compared to the corresponding months in 2019.”