Hit by disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, both thermal and coking coal imports at India”s 12 major ports dropped 31 per cent to 36.7 million tonnes (MT) in April-July 2020 over the the same period a year ago, according to the Indian Ports” Association (IPA).
Thermal coal imports dropped 30 per cent to 23.19 MT and coking coal shipmnets fell 32.26 per cent to 13.51 MT during this period.
Coal volumes at these 12 major ports under the control of the Centre declined for the fourth straight month in July 2020.
These ports had handled 33.11 MT of thermal coal and 13.51 MT of coking coal in the April-July period of the previous financial year.
The IPA, which maintains cargo data handled by these ports, in its latest report said “percentage variation from the previous year” in thermal coal and coking coal handling was 30 per cent and 32.26 per cent, respectively.
Together, thermal and coking coal handling saw a decline of 30.83 per cent at these ports in the April-July period at 36.7 MT.
Thermal coal is the mainstay of India”s energy programme as 70 per cent of power generation is dependent on the dry fuel, while coking coal is used mainly for steel making.
India is the third-largest producer of coal after China and the US, and has 299 billion tonnes of resources and 123 billion tonnes of proven reserves, which may last for over 100 years.
These 12 major ports had handled 705 MT of cargo in the last financial year. These ports had together handled 236.01 MT of cargo during April-July 2018-19, the ports body said.
Ports like Chennai, Cochin and Kamrajar saw their cargo volumes nosedive over 30 per cent during April-July, while JNPT and Kolkata suffered a drop of over 20 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).
These ports handle about 61 per cent of the country”s total cargo traffic. These ports handled 705 MT of cargo last fiscal.
While Chennai port saw 32.53 per cent decline in cargo handling to 11.08 MT, Kamarajar (Ennore) port suffered a drop of 35.64 per cent to 7 MT in April-July, as per IPA data.
Cochin Port saw a dip of 32.78 per cent to 7.76 MT during the period.
Cargo handling at JNPT port slipped 27.69 per cent to 16.94 MT, while the same at Kolkata declined 26.09 per cent to 16.05 MT. Mumbai port logged a fall of 19.79 per cent to 15.85 MT.
In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, sharp declines were witnessed in handling of containers and POL (petroleum, oil and lubricant) among other commodities like coal.