Trade Slump Hits Indian Ports

Trade Slump Hits Indian Ports

Container throughput at major ports in India dipped 1.5 percent in the first three quarters of fiscal 2012-13 from a year earlier as a slump in trade hurt traffic growth.

The country’s 12 major ports handled 5.76 million 20-foot-equivalent units in the nine months through December, compared with 5.85 million TEUs in the same period in 2011, the Indian Ports Association announced.

Containerized cargo volume in the period was virtually flat, at 89.23 million tons.

Volume fell 2 percent year-over-year at Jawaharlal Nehru (Nhava Sheva), the country’s largest container port, to 3.2 million TEUs.

Box throughput at Chennai, the second-largest box hub, was relatively flat, at 1.2 million TEUs.

Kolkata’s container volume increased 7.5 percent to 449,000 TEUs. Tuticorin handled 353,000 TEUs, down from 347,000 TEUs, and volume at Cochin decreased to 249,000 TEUs from 264,000.

The IPA said total cargo throughput at major ports fell 3 percent from the same nine months of 2011 to 405.3 million tons.

Kandla was the top cargo handler with throughput of 69.5 million tons, followed by Nehru, at 48 million tons; Visakhapatnam, at 44.2 million tons; Mumbai, at 44 million tons; Paradip, at 40.7 million tons; and Chennai, at 40 million tons.

The Shipping Ministry has set a cumulative throughput target of 601 million tons for fiscal 2012-13, which ends March 31, but the latest data indicates major ports are likely to miss the target.

For fiscal 2011-12, which ended March 31, 2012, India’s ocean trade through major ports was estimated at 560 million tons, down 1.7 percent from 570 million tons the previous year.