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Even though the port sector has witnessed an increased pace of awarding of projects, execution challenges continue to plague the sector, Icra said. Photo: Mint (Mint)
Even though the port sector has witnessed an increased pace of awarding of projects, execution challenges continue to plague the sector, Icra said. Photo: Mint
(Mint)

Icra says cargo traffic a concern at major Indian ports

For nine months ended December, cargo handled by major ports fall 3% to 405 million tonnes: Icra

Mumbai: Concerns over cargo volumes being handled at major ports intensified, as volumed dropped 2% to 135 million tonnes from October 2011 to December 2012 compared with the year-ago period, according to rating company Icra Ltd.

Volume, however, rose by 2% in the December quarter from the preceding three months as Indian ports witnessed high cargo volumes during the fiscal third quarter, Icra said in a report released on Wednesday.

For the nine months ended 31 December, cargo handled by major ports fell 3% to 405 million tonnes from a year earlier.

On the regulatory front, Icra said efforts to allow major ports to set tariffs have picked up in recent months, with the shipping ministry considering policy changes to improve investment climate and accelerate the pace of capacity expansion.

“If this comes through, it could be a major regulatory shift for the sector and could bring significant upside to major port entities and terminals operating therein," the report said.

Major ports, controlled by the central government, are regulated by the Tariff Authority for Major Ports.

Even though the port sector has witnessed an increased pace of awarding of projects, execution challenges continue to plague the sector, Icra said, adding that the actual translation of the projects awarded to increased capacity and improvement of operating standards is still expected to be a long-drawn affair.

In terms of new projects, there has been a pick-up in activity in the second half of the current fiscal year. Twenty-two projects were awarded by the shipping ministry in during this period, according to government data. The ministry has a target of 42 projects.

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