Ever since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Indian ports are witnessing a constant decline in cargo handling and are still struggling to bounce back to pre-COVID levels. The cargo traffic at 12 major ports of India has dropped by 7.44% to 542.13 million tonnes (MT) during April-January this fiscal, compared with 585.73 MT in the year-ago period.
The drop in January to 542.13 marked as the tenth consecutive month showcasing decline in cargo traffic at 2 ports, says’ apex body IPA.
All the major ports, barring Paradip and Mormugao — which recorded 0.24% and 28.12% increase in cargo handling to 93.60 MT and 17.19 MT respectively, saw negative growth.
Cargo handling at Kamrajar Port (Ennore) nosedived 25.94% during April-January to 19.66 MT, while ports like Mumbai and Chennai saw their cargo volumes dropping by over 12% during the said period.
Furthermore, Cochin and V.O. Chidambaranar ports suffered a sharp decline of over 11%.
JNPT saw a decline of 9.76% in cargo volumes, while Deendayal Port Trust, New Mangalore and Kolkata ports saw over 6% drop in cargo volume. Cargo handling at Visakhapatnam slipped 4.36%.
The 12 Major ports of India under the control of the central government namely are Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla), Mumbai, JNPT, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Kamarajar (earlier Ennore), V. O. Chidambaranar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia).
These ports handle about 61% of the country’s total cargo traffic. They handled 705 MT of cargo last fiscal. However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, sharp declines were witnessed in the handling of containers, coal and POL (petroleum, oil and lubricant), among other commodities.
Earlier, Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya informed the Parliament that there was a considerable decline in the total traffic, containers traffic and other than containers traffic in March, April, May, June, July and August 2020, as compared to the corresponding months in 2019.
The minister, however, had added that recovery has started since June 2020.