Thermal, coking coal imports at major ports dip 25 pc to 55 MT in Apr-Sep: IPA

Cochin Port saw a dip of 24.42 per cent to 12.58 MT during the period.

Disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact cargo movement in India, with thermal and coking coal imports at 12 major ports falling 25.13 per cent year-on-year to 55.41 million tonnes (MT) in April-September, according to the apex ports’ body IPA.

Coal volumes at the 12 major ports declined for the sixth straight month in September 2020, as per the Indian Ports Association (IPA).

Thermal coal imports dropped 23.24 per cent to 34.52 MT during April-September, while coking coal shipments fell 28.04 per cent to 20.89 MT, IPA said.

These ports had handled 44.98 MT of thermal coal and 29.03 MT of coking coal in April-September period of the previous financial year.

Together, thermal and coking coal handling saw a decline of 25.13 per cent at these ports in the April-September period at 55.41 MT, the IPA, which maintains cargo data handled by these ports, said in its latest report.

Thermal coal is the mainstay of India’s energy programme as 70 per cent 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.

The 12 ports witnessed considerable decline in cargo traffic, registering a 14 per cent dip in the first half of the current fiscal to 298.55 million tonnes (MT) as against 348.23 MT during April-September of the last fiscal.

Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya last month said cargo traffic at 12 major ports declined considerably March onwards, adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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).

While Kamarajar port saw 31.63 per cent decline in cargo handling to 10.77 MT in April-September, Chennai port suffered a drop of 25.71 per cent to 18.38 MT, as per IPA data.

Cochin Port saw a dip of 24.42 per cent to 12.58 MT during the period.

Cargo handling at JNPT port slipped 21.71 per cent to 26.94 MT, while it declined 18.78 per cent to 25.56 MT at Kolkata. Mumbai port logged a fall of 18.74 per cent to 24.45 MT.

“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,” Mandaviya had told Parliament last month.

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