Disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic continued to impact cargo movement in India, with thermal coal imports at 12 major ports falling by 17.22% year-on-year to 48.16 million tonnes (MT) in April-November, according to the ports’ body IPA.
Coking coal handling dropped by 14.71% to 31.51 MT during the April-November period of the current fiscal.
Coal volumes at the 12 major ports declined for the eighth straight month in November 2020, according to the Indian Ports Association (IPA).
These ports had handled 58.17 MT of thermal coal and 36.95 MT of coking coal in April-November period of the previous financial year.
Thermal coal is the mainstay of India’s energy programme as 70% 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.
In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, sharp declines were also witnessed in handling of containers, coal and POL (petroleum, oil and lubricant) among other commodities.
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).
Adversely impacted by Covid-19 pandemic, these 12 ports witnessed a considerable decline in cargo traffic for the eighth straight month in November.
Cargo traffic at these dropped by 10.53% to 414.30 million tonnes (MT) during April-November period of the current fiscal compared to 463.05 MT during April-November of the last fiscal.
Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had recently said the cargo traffic at 12 major ports declined considerably March onwards due to the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
All ports barring Mormugao — which recorded a 17.58% increase in cargo handling to 12.20 MT — saw a negative growth.
Cargo handling at Kamrajar Port (Ennore) nosedived 29.65% during April-November to 14.46 MT, while ports like Chennai, Cochin and Mumbai saw their cargo volumes dropping by about 17% during the said period.
JNPT suffered a sharp decline of 15%.
Deendayal Port reported a 10.15% drop in cargo volume while VO Chidambarnar recorded a dip of 11.97% and cargo handling at New Mangalore dropped by over 7%. Paradip Port recorded a decline of 1.38%.