Traffic at ports sees modest hike in FY15

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Published: April 17, 2015 12:45:58 AM

The traffic handled at 12 major ports in the country has seen a modest increase during FY15, with public sector ports clocking 581.3 million...

The traffic handled at 12 major ports in the country has seen a modest increase during FY15, with public sector ports clocking 581.3 million tonne, a rise of 4.65% on y-o-y basis, provisional data sourced from the Indian Ports Association shows.

A weak fourth quarter both for container and bulk cargo traffic seems to have impacted the annual performance of the ports. Private port operators are yet to announce earnings for FY 2014-2015. According to Barclays’ April 8 report, container traffic at government ports grew at a mere 2.1% year-on-year in the three months of January-March 2015, against 8.9% and 11.9% growth witnessed in the second and third quarters of the financial year, respectively. Container traffic was impacted due to a fall in exim and domestic traffic. Government ports’ bulk traffic also grew at a slower pace by 3.5%

y-o-y in the fourth quarter, against 6.8% growth witnessed in the preceding quarter.

“We believe this correction (in container traffic) may be due to the unwinding of higher imports following the formation of the new government during the second-third quarter of FY15,” Barclays observed in the report.

During FY15, Gujarat based-Kandla Port continued its dominance in handling the highest volume of traffic, which stood at 92.49 million tonne (6.31% y-o-y increase), followed by Odisha-based Paradip Port with 71 million tonne (4.42% y-o-y increase), IPA data shows. In comparison, public sector ports in Maharashtra — Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) showed tepid growth. JNPT handled 63.80 million tonne of traffic recording a mere 2.36% y-o-y increase, while MbPT handled 61.66 million tonne, with 4.18% y-o-y increase.

According to Axis Capital’s April 9 report, container volumes in FY15 across major ports grew 6.7% y-o-y to 7.96 million TEU. The growth was driven by 7.3% increase in JNPT volumes and 5.7% growth in Chennai volumes. However, in March, JNPT container volumes had taken a dip of about 3% on y-o-y basis, which dragged the overall container volume growth across major ports to 2.3% y-o-y in a single month. “While near-term volume growth may be muted, medium-term outlook remains intact, especially due to macro recovery and capacity addition at JNPT over FY15-17,” the report observed.

A senior JNPT official told FE that capacity constraints as well as lower volumes of liquid cargo handled at its liquid cargo terminal have impacted overall growth in traffic during the year. According to him, JNPT handled around 1.4 million tonne of crude oil in FY15, fall of a sharp 36% against last year, as ONGC is shipping most of its crude oil production from Bombay High directly to refineries, rather than route it through JNPT, which has led to a fall in liquid cargo handling.

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