April-July port traffic growth falls on iron ore, fertiliser volume drop

Written by Nikita Upadhyay | Nikita Upadhyay | Mumbai | Updated: Aug 25 2011, 03:34am hrs
Traffic handled at major Indian ports saw a growth of 4.84% in April-July over the corresponding period in 2010. Data compiled by the Indian Ports Association (IPA) show that the traffic at 12 major ports for April-July stood at 193 million tonnes as compared to 184 million tonne in the 2010 period. This was driven by liquid and container cargo, which grew 7.7% and 7.3%, respectively, on a year-to-date basis. However, port traffic marginally declined from 46.8 million tonne in June to 46.4 million tonne in July.

The IPA data mainly includes movements of products like iron ore, petroleum, oil and lubricants, fertilisers and coal, besides container cargo. Solid cargo grew just 2% y-o-y, as fertiliser and iron ore cargo volumes de-grew 25.6% and 11.4% y-o-y, respectively. The ban on iron ore export continued to be a drag on volume growth in the solid category, said Nalin Bhatt, Satyam Agarwal and Pooja Kachhawa of Motilal Oswal Securities in a report.

This is an insignificant growth. However, the port sector is performing better than the shipping sector, said an official from IPA. Subdued economic sentiment has also impacted the growth in port traffic. In pre-recessionary times, ports on a y-o-y basis grew at 10-12%. Reaching the same level looks difficult, he added.

The subdued growth in traffic does not correspond to the burgeoning trade in the country, as per data released by the ministry of commerce for July. As per the ministry, exports for July stood at $29.3 billion in value terms, up 81.8% compared to the corresponding period last year. Imports in July, on the other hand, were to the tune of $40.4 billion, up 51.5% over 2010. The growth in trade is not translating into similar growth in cargo traffic. There is a mismatch somewhere. said a Mumbai based analyst.