Cargo traffic in FY10 at 12 major ports up by 5.68%

However, growth has fallen short of the 580-million tonne target set by the government for the previous fiscal

Cargo traffic handled by the top 12 major ports grew by 5.68% to 560.68 million tonnes (MT) in the just-concluded fiscal against 530.35MT in 2008-09, indicating revival in exports as the world economy started to recover from the impact of the global financial meltdown.

“Our 12 major ports handled 560.68MT (of) cargo traffic in 2009-10, registering a growth of 5.68%. This shows buoyant growth in our maritime trade, coupled with indications of revival in exports,” joint shipping secretary Rakesh Srivastava told PTI today. He, however, admitted that this growth is 3.5% short of the 580-MT target set by the ministry for the fiscal year.

The 12 state-owned major ports—Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Kolkata (with Haldia), Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Cochin, Paradip, New Mangalore, Mormugao, Ennore, Tuticorin and Kandla had handled 530.35MT of cargo in 2008-09.

Mr Srivastava said though the traffic handled in 2009-10 fell short by 3.5% from meeting the 580-MT target set by the ministry for the fiscal, the growth was satisfactory given the adverse circumstances that the maritime trade faced in the wake of the global economic crisis.

The 5.68% growth during the past fiscal, he said, is more than double the mere 2.13% increase in port traffic reported in 2008-09.

The rise in port traffic during the last fiscal was triggered by a 21.02% jump in cargo growth to 78.22MT, coupled with a 6.25% rise in iron ore traffic, which increased to 102MT, the joint secretary said.

Most of the commodities handled by these ports reported growth in the last fiscal year, compared with the previous year, barring petroleum, oil & lubricants (POL), which declined by a hefty 37% to 197.21MT, the secretary said, adding that container traffic, which was hit directly earlier due to the global financial meltdown, grew by 4.32% in the reporting fiscal.

During 2007-08, cargo traffic had grown by 11.94% at 519.15MT over 463.78MT in 2006-07.

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    JNPT plans overseas foray

    The container port is looking for a global footprint; it will also spend Rs500 crore on green initiatives

    Major container port, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), plans to foray overseas as a port and container terminal operator, subject to government approval, a senior JNPT official has said, reports PTI.

    “We plan to expand our operations abroad as a port and terminal operator, subject to government approval,” the official said, on strict conditions of anonymity.

    JNPT was evaluating opportunities in southern Africa and Latin America, he said. The port has already held discussions with several parties, including Italian and Canadian entities, to evaluate the feasibility of jointly setting up a green-field port, he said.
    JNPT will provide the necessary technical skills to establish and run an overseas port facility in the initial stages for which it would earn a royalty and other fees. At a later stage, it may invest in these ventures, he said.

    The plan for evaluating foreign opportunities is subject to necessary approvals from the shipping ministry. The opportunity to expand overseas would enable the port to acquire a global footprint.

    Besides, the port has also undertaken initiatives to become country's first ‘green port’.

    “We have undertaken initiatives to become the country's first green port. The Rs500-crore initiative involves setting up wind and solar power units, usage of CNG vehicles in the port area, water harvesting and forestation, among others,” the official said.

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    Merchant power tariffs witness a short-term hike

    Rise may be short-lived, but prices may stay high till June this year. Companies like JSW Energy, Jindal Steel & Power and Adani Power are likely to benefit

    After six months of sluggish performance, merchant power tariffs are on a rise again. From a low of around Rs2 per unit in December 2009, merchant power rates have reached a decent level of around Rs7 to Rs8 per unit in April 2010. Analysts say that this short-term rise in merchant power tariffs would be beneficial for JSW Energy, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) and also Adani Power Ltd to some extent.

    As per Indian Energy Exchange data, merchant power rates touched a high of Rs8.50 per unit on Tuesday. As on 1 April 2010, power tariffs had touched a high of Rs5 per unit, moving towards Rs8 per unit on Wednesday.

    Moneylife had earlier reported in December 2009 on how merchant power tariffs had crashed to unbelievable levels of Rs2 to Rs5 in December 2009. Power tariffs had fallen from a high of Rs12 to Rs14 per unit in June 2009. However, tariffs have been on a downturn since September. They were quoted in the range of Rs6 to Rs8 by the end of September and the beginning of October 2009. In November, they fell to Rs2 to Rs4 per unit, with power traded during non-peak hours falling to below Rs2 in mid-December 2009.

    Merchant power tariffs as on 1 January 2010 were at a high of Rs3 per unit, moving towards Rs5 per unit in February and March 2010. With the onset of summer, analysts expect the rise in merchant power prices to continue upto June 2010, and they are expected to again fall thereafter.

    During the course of this short-term rise in merchant power tariffs, JSPL and JSW Energy are likely to benefit most from the rise. Analysts point out that Adani Power Ltd may also profit to a certain extent. JSW Power and JSPL have sufficient on-stream merchant power capacities to trade during this peak season.

    “The companies that will benefit from the immediate increase in high power tariffs are JSPL and JSW Energy as they have capacities on the ground. If we look at a year-end average, the power tariffs would stabilise at around Rs4 to Rs5 per unit for the next couple of years. However, it can also surprise us on the upside. If this happens, it would be beneficial to all companies in the power sector,” said a research analyst who has requested anonymity.

    “The power tariffs will remain high till June 2010. In the long term, they will be in the band of a low of Rs3 per unit to a high of Rs6 per unit,” added another analyst who also requested anonymity.

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