The commodity movement — total exports and imports using containers — through the Cochin Port has registered a marginal growth during the financial year 2020-21 in comparison with that of 2019-20.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought down the economic activity, especially retailing business, to almost a standstill for months in Kerala. With full or partial lockdowns in place, the consumption of petroleum products had gone down. However, the commodity movement — total exports and imports using containers — through the Cochin Port has registered a marginal growth during the financial year 2020-21 in comparison with that of 2019-20.
While the overall cargo movement has come down year-on-year in the financial year 2020-21, the container movement has grown by 11% from 6.2 lakh TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) in FY20 to 6.9 lakh TEUs in FY21.
“Last year, the overall cargo handled by the Cochin Port has come down, which is a reality. But if we analyze the reasons for the decline, you could see that decline has come from the petroleum sector. But for containers, it is a different story. Even with the container movement coming to a standstill during the initial three months, we managed to have an increase in the number of containers. And that is the proof for the fact that the hinterland economy is growing also the proof for the success of the International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT). The terminal is able to handle the cargo properly and efficiently,” said CPT chairperson M Beena.
According to the data from the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), the volume of the imports through the containers at Cochin Port during FY21 was 89,169 TEUs with a total weight of 25.23 lakh tonnes, in comparison with 1,08,479 TEUs weighing 24.84 tonnes. Similarly, the volume of exports using containers during FY21 was 1,23,515 TEUs weighing 12.95 lakh tonnes and exports during FY20 was 1,21,140 TEUs weighing 12.40 tonnes.
These figures from the CCCI looks only at the loaded containers coming in from overseas or heading out to other countries. Hence the coastal shipping containers, transhipments and empty containers are not counted. Petroleum and defence equipment are also excluded due to strategic reasons.
With the pandemic on, representatives of ship operators had faced challenges catering to the export-import community of Kochi.
“There is shortage of containers and it was tough to get space on ship. Rates had also gone up. Still, we were able to manage and all the industries – including spices and plywood – had been very supportive,” said M Krishna Kumar, president of Cochin Steamer Agents’ Association, a body of the representatives of various ship operators.
The shortage of containers and space on ships had been a pandemic-induced issue plaguing the global trade, especially in the far eastern region.
“In Singapore port, ships are being delayed up to four or five days. When there is a delay, it affects the connectivity,” Kumar added.
Source : Times of India