Strong Growth

Port traffic trends and analysis

The major ports under the Ministry of Por­ts, Shipping and Waterways register­ed an impressive growth in traffic movement of around 7 per cent (year on year) during 2021-22 over the previous year. Further, the Inland Waterways Authority of India, the statutory bo­dy in charge of waterways in the country, transported a total of 105 million tonnes (mt) of cargo through the national waterways, registering an impressive increase of 25.61 per cent on a year-on-year basis.

However, the traffic handled at Indian por­ts was severely impacted during the last quarter of 2019-20 and 2020-21 owing to the first and second waves of the Covid-19 pandemic. The annual rate of increase declined drastically during this period. While the traffic handled was impacted, cargo traffic at Indian ports st­ar­ted gaining momentum from June 2020 on­wards. With the situation getting back on cour­se, port sector operations too started witnessing positive growth.

Indian Infrastructure takes a look at the trends in traffic handled at the major and non-major ports…

Traffic trends at major ports

The major ports reported a traffic movement of 719.38 mt in 2021-22. This is 6.94 per cent higher than the 672.68 mt of traffic movement witnessed in 2020-21. The 13 major ports handled over 95 per cent of the country’s export-im­port cargo, with Navi Mumbai’s Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) accounting for over half the cargo volumes. This is the highest ever traffic growth at the major ports in India.

The five major ports of the country recorded their highest ever traffic during 2021-22. These ports were Kamarajar port, JNPT, Deen­dayal port, Mumbai port and Cochin port. Kam­a­rajar port registered a traffic increase of 49.63 per cent in 2021-22 over the previous year. JNPT achieved the highest ever traffic du­ring the same period, with an impressive grow­th of 17.27 per cent over the previous year. De­en­dayal port too clocked an impressive growth of 8.11 per cent during 2021-22. This is its hi­ghest ever traffic handled. Mumbai port mar­ked an increase in traffic of 11.46 per cent. And Cochin port recorded a growth of 9.68 per cent on a year-on-year basis. This is Cochin port’s highest ever traffic achieved

V.O. Chidambaranar (VOC) port handled a cargo traffic of 34.12 mt as against the previous year’s achievement of 31.79 mt, registering a growth of 7.33 per cent. Imports accounted for 24.19 mt, an increase of 7.42 per cent, while exports accounted for 9.45 mt, registering a growth of 2.83 per cent, and transshipment ac­c­ounted for 0.48 mt. The port surpassed the 34 mt target set by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways. VOC port also witnessed improved performance in terms of operational efficiency. The average pre-ber­thing detention time decreased considerably, from 13.44 hours during 2020-21 to 11.52 hours during 2021-22. Further, ship-berth-day output increas­ed from 15,696 tonnes during 2020-21 to 16,811 tonnes during 2021-22.

In another landmark achievement, JNPT, In­dia’s premier container port, handled 5.68 milli­on twenty-foot equipment units (TEUs) during 2021-22 as against 4.68 million TEUs in 2020-21, marking an increase of 21.55 per cent. This performance is the highest ever at JNPT for any financial year. The previous best of  was 5.13 TEUs in 2018-19. The total traffic handled at JNPT during 2021-22 was 76 mt as against 64.81 mt during 2020-21, an increase of 17.27 per cent. In terms of TEUs, out of the total container traffic handled at JNPT during 2021-22, 1,244,694 TEUs was handled at Bharat Mumbai Container Termi­nals (BMCT); 1,186,181 TEUs at Nhava Sheva International Gateway Terminal (NSIGT); 1,865,587 TEUs at APM Terminals Mu­m­bai; 947,887 TEUs at Nhava Sheva Inter­na­tional Container Terminal; and 440,210 TEUs at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Container Terminal. Ad­di­tionally, during 2021-22, JNPT handled 6,278 co­ntainer rakes and 1,007,667 TEUs as compa­red to 6,092 rakes and 921,512 TEUs in 2020-21. Also, during 2021-22, two container terminals – NSIGT and BMCT – crossed the 1 million TEU mark for the first time, handling 1.186 million TEUs and 1.245 million TEUs res­pectively. The annual growth registered by NSIGT stood at 52.12 per cent and that of BMCT stood at 33.39 per cent.

Chennai and Kamarajar ports jointly handled 87.3 mt of cargo traffic in 2021-22, registering a growth of 25.8 per cent over the previous year’s cumulative cargo of 69.4 mt. Chennai port handled 48.56 mt of cargo while Kamarajar port handled 38.74 mt. These two ports together handled 2,082,575 TEUs in 2021-22 as compared to 1,586,810 TEUs in 2020-21, up by 31.2 per cent. The cargo profile of Chennai port comprises 64 per cent containers, 27 per cent liquid bulk, 5 per cent dry bulk and 4 per cent break bulk cargo. Kama­rajar port’s cargo profile constitutes 57 per cent dry bulk, 24 per cent containers, 13 per cent liquid cargo and 6 per cent break bulk cargo. On the exports front, the two ports ship­ped 306,184 units of automobiles, up from 223,920 units in 2020-21, registering a cu­mulative increase of 36.7 per cent.

In another stellar performance, Cochin port handled a record cargo of 34.55 mt during 2021-22, registering a growth of 9.68 per cent over 2020-21. In terms of container handling, it recorded the highest ever throughput of 0.74 million TEUs, which marked a growth of 6.65 per cent over 2021-21. Further, in terms of  petrol, oil and lubricants, the throughput rose to 21.07 mt in 2021-22, reflecting a growth of around 13 per cent over 2020-21.

Traffic trends at non-major ports

The cargo traffic handled at the non-major ports from April 2021 to February 2022 was recorded at 538.98 mt. This was an increase of 4.1 per cent over the 517.87 mt cargo handled from April 2020 to February 2021. The overseas cargo traffic handled at the non-major ports from April 2021 to February 2022 increased from 450.74 mt to 459.12 mt, registering an increase of 1.9 per cent. Addi­tio­nally, the coastal cargo traffic handled at the non-major ports during the same period increased by 19 per cent to 79.86 mt from 67.13 mt during the period April 2020 to Feb­ruary 2021.

During the period April 2021 to February 2022, the Kerala Maritime Board recorded the highest growth in traffic at 227.1 per cent over April 2020-February 2021, followed by the Maharashtra Maritime Board (29.3 per cent); the Port Management Board, Andaman & Nico­bar Islands (5.1 per cent); and the Gujarat Ma­ri­time Board (5 per cent). Meanwhile, the state ma­ritime boards/directorates that recor­ded ne­­gative growth in traffic during this period we­re the Directorate of Ports, Puducherry (-22.3 per cent); the Tamil Nadu Maritime Bo­ard (-17.3 per cent); Captain of Ports, Goa (-12.6 per cent); the Directorate of Ports, Kar­nataka (-5.5 per cent), the Directorate of Ports, Odisha (-2.8 per cent) and the Andhra Pradesh Maritime Board (-2.4 per cent).

In terms of cargo handled from April 2021 to February 2022, among the state maritime boards/directorates, the Gujarat Maritime Bo­ard handled the maximum cargo of 365.7 mt with a share of 67.9 per cent, followed by the Andhra Pradesh Maritime Board (14.7 per cent); the Maharashtra Maritime Board (7.8 per cent); the Directorate of Ports, Odisha (7 per cent); the Tamil Nadu Maritime Board (1.3 per cent); the Directorate of Ports, Puducherry (0.9 per cent); Andaman & Nicobar Islands (0.3 per cent) and the Directorate of Ports Karna­taka (0.1 per cent).

In sum

The increasing traffic at Indian ports points towards a healthy outlook for the port sector. The ongoing decade could well be a golden de­cade for the sector with positive government policy interventions, private sector capital infusion, and holistic and inclusive development with efficiency, job creation and innovation.

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