In March, cargo traffic at major ports in India improved by 2.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) to 51.6 million tonnes (mt). Cargo traffic for the month was also the highest sequential growth rate for FY10 at 13%. Cargo volume has crossed the 50 mt mark in a month for three times since FY07—the first instance was in March 2009 and the second in January 2010 when major ports reported cargo volume of 50.4 and 51.2 mt, respectively. For FY10, cargo traffic grew by 5.4% y-o-y to 561 mt.

Graphic: Ahmed Raza Khan / Mint

Also, fertilizer cargo grew by 101% on a lower base, container cargo grew by 17% y-o-y to 9.6 mt, while petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) cargo grew by 8% y-o-y to 15.8 mt.

Coal cargo was down by 9% y-o-y to 6 mt. Cargo in the other category, too, reported a decline of 12% at 9.2 mt.

Container cargo traffic for March stood at 9.6 mt, up by 17% y-o-y, while container traffic at Jawaharlal Nehru port (JNP) stood at 5 mt, up 15% y-o-y. In FY10, container cargo handled by JNP grew by 5% y-o-y to 53.1 mt, which accounts for 53% of the total container cargo compared with 54% in FY09.

Other ports, too, reported a healthy growth in FY10 container traffic.

Chennai was up 14% y-o-y at 23.5 mt, Tuticorin was up 20% y-o-y at 6.6 mt and Kolkata was up 21% y-o-y at 6.6 mt. These four ports together account for 89.8 mt of container traffic or 90% of the total container traffic.

Six out of thirteen major ports reported growth in cargo traffic in March. Cochin port reported the highest increase of 42% y-o-y followed by Mormugao, which was at 33% y-o-y, Kandla at 21% y-o-y and JNP at 15% y-o-y.

For the Cochin port, cargo traffic growth was boosted by POL cargo (71% of the total cargo), which grew by 46% y-o-y, and the Mormugao port traffic was boosted by iron ore cargo.

During FY10, three ports reported fall in cargo traffic, led by Haldia (down 20% y-o-y) Ennore (down 7%) and New Mangalore (down 3% y-o-y).