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Lead Indian ports fall short of target

Lead Indian ports fall short of target

Mumbai:  Slowing demand has meant that only three of India's 12 major ports have hit the half yearly cargo handling targets set for them by the government. According to data complied by the Indian Ports Association (IPA), only the ports at Kandla, Ennore and Visakhapatnam met their half-yearly targets, with the other nine ports (including JNPT and Cochin) falling short of the target - despite seeing an overall increase in throughput.

According to the report, the 12 ports handled 262m tonnes of cargo between April and September, up 7.2% as compared to 244m tonnes in the same period last year, but still short of the 282.7m tonne target set for them by the government, requiring a 7.32%, increase. Container cargo, which accounts for about 18% of the total, grew by 10% to touch 3.5m teu from 3.2m teu a year ago.

These results have led a number of ports to ask for the ministry's target to be lowered.  "Some ports are now saying that the cargo target set by the ministry was on the higher side and wanted it to be scaled down," Live Mint has quoted IPA managing director A. Janardhan Rao as saying. The ministry itself, however, is still optimistic. "There is no proposal to scale down the target," Rakesh Srivastava, joint secretary in charge of ports at the ministry is quoted as saying. "The 12 ports will be able to exceed the target of 579m tonnes set for 2009."

However, key market players expect the slowdown to continue into next year, barring a reversal of the downturn in the world economy. "It is the second half that will take a beating and this trend will continue for the rest of the year," Live Mint quotes Ganesh Raj, DP World svp and md (Indian subcontinent) as saying. The gloomy outlook has led DP World to cut growth projections at its Chennai facility by some 5% to 15%. "Earlier, we had targeted cargo volumes of 1.3m teu for 2009. But, now, we will probably end up doing about 1.25m teu," the paper quotes an unnamed executive saying. DP World's Chennai operations are reported to have handled 1.05m teu in the year to March.  [27/10/08]