Cargo handled by all govt-owned ports reach pre-Covid level
Cargo handled by all government-owned major ports of India in the first half of this fiscal has nearly reached the level seen before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, signalling that the external trade of the nation is slowly limping back to normal.
While some of the 12 ports handled more cargo during April-September of 2021 than in the corresponding period of 2019, others have yet to pick up steam, notably Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Port (SMP), Calcutta (the erstwhile Calcutta Port Trust) which operates the twin dock system at Haldia and Calcutta.
Data collected by government agencies show that these ports handled 347 million tonnes (MT) of traffic in April-September 2021 compared with 348.2 MT recorded during the same period of 2019, a marginal decline of 0.17 percent. (See chart)
In the first half of 2020, cargo movement was badly hampered by the severe restrictions that had been clamped in the wake of the first wave of the pandemic. However, in the current fiscal, traffic was much higher despite a lethal second wave.
Thus, a 16.12 percent rise in traffic was observed over the first six months of 2020 when only 298.84 MT cargo was handled.