India’s maritime sector experiences boom in April-September half

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Marine

Mormugao Port, which handles cargo from the Adani project in Goa among others, topped the charts with a maximum cargo growth of 60.47 per cent in August 2021, demonstrating that the Indian shipping industry has found its feet again

In what can only be described as a major reversal of fortune for India’s shipping industry, reports revealed that cargo volume handled by all government-owned major ports is on the rise. The Indian Government owns 12 major ports in the country, which altogether handles more than 61 per cent of all cargo traffic.

Cargo traffic in August reached 57.59 million tons in August this year – a year-on-year (YoY) growth of 11.43 per cent. Mormugao Port, which handles cargo from the Adani project in Goa among others, topped the charts with a maximum cargo growth of 60.47 per cent. Kamarajar Port followed with 53.73 per cent and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust rounded off the top three with 27.03 per cent. All of this translated to a very positive first half for the current fiscal. Between April and September 2021, the major ports collectively handled 347 million tonnes (MT) of traffic. This translates to a marginal decline of only 0.17 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.

The reopening of the economy after a temporary curb on economic activities has ushered a revival in prospects. Expansion projects and developmental works are being carried out in ports even as new ones are being built. The West Bengal government has already drawn up plans for a greenfield port at Tajpur and is already inviting final bids for the same. The proposal calls for the port’s development on the basis of a design-build-finance-operate-and-transfer model. Thanks to its locational advantage, global players like DP World and Port of Singapore have so far shown considerable interest.

Private players in India are also making their moves. Adani Ports & SEZ (APSEZ), India’s largest private port operator, is gearing up for a promising post-pandemic future. Seven coastal states in India play host to 12 Adani projects. Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha are the states where APSEZ owns ports or operates terminals in. With 4 lakh sq.ft. of warehousing and three logistics parks, the company is well-placed to leverage new opportunities as they arise.

Maritime transport plays a very critical role in India’s economy. Almost 95 per cent of India’s trade by volume and 70 per cent by value is carried out through maritime transport. Its 12 major ports and 205 minor and intermediate ports play a vital role in sustaining growth, which will be crucial in a post-pandemic world. Possessing a coastline roughly 7,517 km in length, it is in India’s best interest to expand its maritime trade facilities.