Major ports log FY24's 1st double-digit cargo growth

GS Paper III

News Excerpt:

Central government-owned ports, which are important ports with modest development this fiscal year, saw a turnaround in October 2023.

Key Points:

  • There was a 13 percent growth in cargo and the ports handled 70 million tonnes (mt) of goods, according to the provisional data by the Indian Ports Association.
  • This is the first time that major ports have seen a double-digit percentage increase and handled more than 70 mt in 2023-24 (FY24). 
  • Despite investments in infrastructure for modernization and capacity development, major ports saw sluggish growth in parts of the previous fiscal year due to the Russia-Ukraine war, and are expected to perform similarly this fiscal year, owing in part to global headwinds. 
  • The rate of growth in cargo between April and September (2023) was 2.4 percent. 
  • Previously coastal cargo, which has been a focus of the central government in its Union Budget this fiscal year, saw essentially no growth in major ports in FY24, while privately-owned ports saw a 21 percent increase in traffic over the same period. 
  • During the current fiscal year, major ports have seen significant improvements in key operational performance criteria. 

Turnaround of Ports growth:

  • The surge in the previous month has pushed FY24 cargo growth in major ports to almost 4 percent.
  • Handling containers, which account for roughly a fourth of all cargo at state-owned ports, increased 19 percent in October 2023, signaling higher movements of finished goods in the maritime economy. Till September, container handling at major ports had grown by 7 percent.
  • Volumes of thermal coal, coking coal, and other industrial coal grew by 10 percent in October 2023, and iron ore traffic more than doubled.
  • According to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, 76.81 mt of raw materials and goods were moved through inland waterways between April and October, as compared to 69.88 mt during the same period last year, registering an increase of 9.92 percent.
  • Cargo of 314,645 tonnes was moved through the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route in October 2023.
  • Average Output per Ship Berth day has increased by 8.74 percent, while turn round time has improved by 8.61 percent.

Reason for the turnaround:

  • The preliminary figures do not indicate whether the growth was driven by international trade or increased coastal movement of local goods.
  • While experts and authorities have noted global economic challenges, state-owned ports this year have also faced criticism because private ports have witnessed a stronger increase in container traffic.

  • According to the ministry, The percentage of idle time at berth has decreased by 19%, and the average pre-berthing time has decreased by nearly 59.5 percent.


Prelims PYQ

Q. In the context of the Indian economy, consider the following statements:

    (UPSC 2011)

1) The growth rate of GDP has steadily increased in the last five years.

2) The growth rate in per capita income has steadily increased in the last five years.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Mains Question

Q. Examine the development of Airports in India through joint ventures under Public – Private Partnership (PPP) model. What are the challenges faced by the authorities in this regard? (UPSC 2017)

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