Notwithstanding COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown, the New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT), one of the 14 major ports of India, has surpassed the performance recorded in Quarter 1 of 2019-2020 during the current Q1. As against 8.9 million tonnes of cargo handled during the previous Q1, the port handled 9.2 million tonnes of cargo during the quarter ending June 30 this year.
This despite handling lesser number of vessels (277) during Q1 this fiscal as against 321 vessels handled during Q1 of the previous year. There were considerable improvements in average pre berthing delays (from 1.68 days to 1.44 days), average turnaround time of vessels (from 48.74 hours to 47.8 hour), and average output per berth (from 14,774 tonnes to 17,746 tonnes), according to statistics prepared by the research department of the port.
The increase in traffic volume during Q1 of the current financial year was mainly due to increased unloading of crude oil for Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd., (MRPL) and Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve (ISPRL). As against 2.5 million tonnes of crude unloaded during Q1 of 2019-20, the port unloaded 4.2 million tonnes this Q1 to facilitate government’s move to store as much crude as possible when international prices were down during April-May.
Commenting on the performance, port chairman A.V. Ramana said it was very good considering the pandemic time when there was considerable reduction in demand from major captive cargo consumers, including JSW Steel, cement industries in North Karnataka and the Udupi Power Corporation Ltd. Crude import made good the reduction in demand from other sectors. Captive cargo, including crude and coal, constituted 78% of the port traffic, Mr. Ramana told The Hindu.
He said the performance should be considered good at a time when MRPL was functioning to about 40% of its capacity due to reduced demand for fuel while KIOCL could not dispatch three consignments to China during the period.
There were no cruise vessels either. However container traffic, fertilisers etc., have helped the port to tide over the crisis, the chairman said.
Despite a few COVID-19 positive cases getting reported among workers, the port is functioning to its full capacity as it has put alternative plans in place, he said.
Source: The Hindu