The COVID-19-related pressure on the businesses of ports is seen easing a little in the first two months of the current financial year with Kochi port seeing an upswing in volume of cargo throughput.

According to figures from the Indian Ports Association, Kochi, saw volume of cargo throughput go up to a total of 5.17 million tonnes during April and May this year compared to 3.41 million tonnes during the same months in 2020. The upswing has been helped by substantial increase in POL products, the volume of which went up to 3.17 million tonnes during April-May 2021 compared to 2.24 million tonnes during the same months last year.

Meanwhile, the pandemic impact on shipping business across the country during the last financial year was reflected in the cargo movement through the port, which dropped marginally by about eight per cent for 2020-21. However, the port’s handling of container cargo saw an upward swing of about 11 per cent.

The port handled a total cargo of 31.50 million tonnes during 2020-21 against the volume of 34 million tonnes during the previous financial year. The fall is 7.45 per cent. However container cargo movement saw an upward swing. The port handled 6.89 lakh TEUs of container cargo during the last financial year against 6.20 lakh TEUs during the previous year.

The number of vessels handled by the port too saw a slight dip as COVID 19 significantly affected the pace of shipping operations across the globe. The port handled 1,475 vessels during 2020-21 against 1,589 vessels during the previous year.

The port’s operating income for the year 2020-21 stood at Rs. 683 crore against Rs. 649 crore during the previous year. The increase is a little more than five percent year to year. Despite the slight fall in cargo throughput, the income from cargo-related charges saw a slight increase by about five percent. This is on account of the increase in the volume of container cargo throughput.

Vessel related charges went up by about nine per cent for the last financial year. The crew change facility implemented at the port has been pointed out as the reason for the increase in income in this category.

The Port Trust also saw an increase in operating profit, which stood at Rs. 339.89 crore during 2020-21 against Rs. 293.16 crore during the previous year. The operating profit increase nearly 16 per cent year to year.

Source: The Hindu