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Lockdown: Thermal coal imports rose 30% to 7.8 mt in April

COVID-19 epidemic at 12 major ports of India, thermal coal imports witnessed a 30.46 percent drop in 7.8 million tonnes (MT) in the first month of the current financial year. Ports body IPA.

These center-owned ports handled 11.27 metric tonnes of thermal coal in the same month of 2018-19.

The Indian Ports Association (IPA), which maintains cargo data controlled by these 12 ports, said in its latest report that the "percentage variance from the previous year" in thermal coal handling was 30.46 percent.

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Coking and other coal imports also declined by 17.07 percent to 4.27 MT during the month. These ports handled 5.15 MT of coking coal in the same month of last financial year.

Thermal coal is the mainstay of India's energy program as 70 percent of electricity generation is dependent on dry fuel, while coking coal is mainly used to make steel.

After China and United States, India is the third largest producer of coal and has 299 billion tonnes of resources and 123 billion tonnes of reserves, which can ends up to 100 years.

In India, there are12 major ports which are as,- Cochin, Kolkata, Kandla, Mumbai, Paradip, JNPT, Marmugao, Chennai, New Mangalore, Kamarajar (Ennore), VO Chidambaranar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip - which handle about 61% of the country . Total cargo traffic.

These ports recorded a 21.4 percent drop in cargo volumes to 47.42 metric tons in April this year, mainly due to coronovirus outbreaks.

Ports like JNPT, Chennai, Cochin and Kamaraj have seen a steep decline in cargo handling as per the latest figures.

Chennai Port saw a steep 38.17 percent drop in cargo handling to 2.44 MT and JNPT up 33.97 percent to 3.95 MT in April.

Cargo handling at Cochin port declined by 33.73 per cent to 1.87 MT, and Kamarajar Port by 30.03 per cent to 2.08 MT, data showed.

In terms of TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit), container trade recorded a decline of 36.98 percent, followed by a 30.46 percent drop in thermal coal.

On last week, Rating agency ICRA said that, the container segment is expected to be adversely affected, while all cargo segments are weak

It added that while normal cargo throughput could witness a 5-8 percent contraction for the entire year 2020-21, the container segment could see a 12-15 percent decline during the same period.

These major ports handled 705 MT of cargo in the last financial year.

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