Hit by disruptions caused by COVID-19, India's 12 major ports witnessed a 4.59 per cent fall in cargo handling to 672.60 million tonnes (MT) in the just-concluded financial year, according to ports' apex body IPA.
These ports had handled 705 MT, 699 MT and 679 MT cargo in 2019-20, 2018-19 and 2017-18, respectively.
Recently, Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Mansukh Mandaviya said the cargo traffic at 12 major ports declined considerably March onwards due to the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Percentage variation from previous year" in "traffic handled at major ports during April to March 2021 vis-a-vis April to March 2020" declined 4.59 per cent, the Indian Ports Association (IPA) said in its latest report.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, sharp declines were witnessed in the handling of containers, coal and POL (petroleum, oil and lubricant), among other commodities.
The percentage variation from the previous year was recorded at 4.59 per cent, it said.
All ports, barring Paradip and Mormugao (which recorded 1.65 per cent and 37.06 per cent increase in cargo handling to 114.54 MT and 21.95 MT, respectively), saw negative growth.
Cargo handling at Kamrajar Port (Ennore) dipped 18.46 per cent during April-March 2021 to 25.88 MT, while ports like Mumbai and V. O. Chidambaranar saw their cargo volumes dropping by over 10 per cent during the said period.
Cochin, New Mangalore and Chennai ports suffered a sharp decline of about 7 per cent.
JNPT saw a decline of 5.32 per cent in cargo volumes, while Deendayal Port Trust and Kolkata ports logged an over 4 per cent drop in cargo volume. Cargo handling at Visakhapatnam slipped 3.96 per cent.
India has 12 major ports under the control of the central government -- Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla), Mumbai, JNPT, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Kamarajar (earlier Ennore), V. O. Chidambaranar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia).
These ports handle about 61 per cent of the country's total cargo traffic.