GMB ports outshine major ports in Gujara
AHMEDABAD: At a time when the maritime sector is facing an unprecedented crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Gujarat’s non-major ports have continued to outperform the major ports in terms of year-onyear growth. These non-major ports that are under the jurisdiction of Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) cumulatively handled 411.8 million tonnes (MT) of cargo during the April-March period of 2019-20, clocking a growth rate of 3.16% over the preceding year’s cargo volume of about 399.2 MT, said a GMB official. This is almost 2.34 % higher than the growth rate registered by the major ports of India during the same period, said sources. The total traffic handled at major ports during the April-March period of 2019-20 was 704.63 MT as against 699.10 MT handled during the corresponding period of the previous year, showing an overall growth of 0.82%, a government official said. The growth in GMB regulated ports was led by captive jetties and private ports handled about 181.2 MT and 199.4 MT of cargo respectively, cumulatively handling about 93% of the total cargo with volumes growing at 6% and 2% respectively from theprevious year, said sources. Crude oil, containers, coal, petroleum, oil & lubricants (POL), liquefied natural gas (LNG) and iron ore constituted the major commodities handled by the ports. For the year 2018-19, the non-major ports of Gujarat posted 7.6% growth for the cargo handled by them as compared to the year previous. The 12 major ports of the country, controlled by the central government posted 2.95% growth in 2018-19 as compared to 2017-18 fiscal. Since the last five years, the traffic at GMB ports has steadily grown at a CAGR of exceeding 4%. The growth trajectory maintained by GMB is remarkable given the adverse scenarios prevalent in global maritime sector with rising geopolitical tensions amidst protectionist policies of developed economies, muted domestic demand and weakened investor sentiments followed by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic towards the end of 2019, according to the GMB official. The large-scale production shutdown in China owing to Covid-19 crisis, effected a tremendous disruption in cargo movement across the Indian ports. The subsequent 21-day national lockdown also caused lack of demand for cargo, cancellation of orders, congestion at ports owing to stranded vessels, shortage of labourers, movement of workers and truck drivers among other impediments for ports and shipping.