Private terminals drive Indian container volumes to year-end upward swing

Indian containerized trade ended 2019 on a hopeful note, with port volumes during December seeing a strong turnaround compared with the prior month and remaining on track on a year-over-year basis.

The country’s major and minor ports together handled 1.45 million TEU last month, up 11 percent from 1.31 million TEU in November. Last month’s combined throughput was just under the 1.46 million TEU reported during December 2018.

New data suggests the gain was particularly led by privately operated minor terminals, the majority of which are operated by the Adani Group, which is poised to further strengthen its presence following recent acquisitions. Minor ports saw December volumes increase 8.5 percent from November to 633,000 TEU and tick up 1 percent from December 2018.

Containerized shipments in and out of Indian major or public ports have been down markedly in the past months, but the latest data indicates an upward trend.  December volumes handled by the country’s 12 government port entities stood at 833,000 TEU, up 9.2 percent month-to-month, but down 2 percent year over year.

JNPT volumes up almost 9 percent in December

At Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), India’s busiest public gateway, container volume during December rose nearly 9 percent to 418,000 TEU from 384,000 TEU the previous month, while slipping 6 percent year over year.

The second-busiest government port, Chennai, saw its December throughput remain steady on the month at 103,000 TEU, but suffered a sharp 21 percent fall year over year.

Other smaller public ports saw respectable volume increases last month compared with November, with Cochin — which hosts the country’s first transshipment terminal operated by DP World — moving 22 percent more containers than a month earlier.

Although the pace of Indian container growth has moderated in recent months, the latest trends suggest volumes will remain in positive territory through the end of fiscal year 2019-20 in March.  At major ports, volumes in the first three quarters (April-December) were up 2.7 percent year over year to 7.5 million TEU.

Source: JOC