Coal shipments handled by India's 12 major state-run ports during April-September rose by 15.25 per cent to 29.29 million tonne (MT), according to a ports' body. The state-run ports had handled 25.41 MT of coking coal cargo in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. Shipments of thermal or steam coal, however, declined by 13.20 per cent to 44.87 million tonne, the Indian Ports Association (IPA) data showed. The IPA said these ports handled 51.69 MT of thermal coal in the April-September period of the previous fiscal. Thermal coal is the mainstay of the country's energy programme as 70 per cent of power generation is dependent on the dry fuel, while coking coal is used mainly for steel-making. According to rating agency ICRA, the country's overall thermal coal import is likely to cross 200-MT mark in 2019-20. It said that Coal India's production might fall short of its 2019-20 target of 660 MT by around 55-75 MT. Coal India accounts for over 80 per cent of the country's domestic coal requirement. Overall, the 12 major ports recorded a marginal 1.48 per cent upswing in cargo handling at 348.44 MT in April-September this fiscal against 343.37 MT in the year-ago period.
The growth was driven mainly by higher handling of coking coal, fertilisers and iron ore. These 12 major ports are -- Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla), Mumbai, JNPT, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Kamarajar (earlier Ennore), V.O.Chidambaranar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia). These ports handle about 60 per cent of the country's total cargo traffic.