Revival in container cargo volumes unlikely, says ICRA

Revival in container cargo volumes unlikely, says ICRA

Pressure from ‘laggards’ like iron ore and container segments is expected to continue to hurt the port sector in the near-term, as a revival in cargo volumes is unlikely, according to a report by ratings agency ICRA, which also gave a weak outlook to the sector.

“We expect cargo pressure to continue at major ports, with iron ore and containers the main laggards,” ICRA said in a note, adding, it has a weak outlook on the sector.

The Supreme Court decision on ore mining, especially on Karnataka, has hurt ore exports, it said, adding that the segment registered an 18 per cent decline in volumes for the first nine months of the fiscal, over the same period, a year ago.

The dip in volumes was the “result of the continued stalemate in domestic mining activities”, it said. For the container segment, it was weakness in global markets as also the dip in domestic growth that resulted in a volume decline of four per cent for the same period.

“The near-term outlook for revival in these cargo categories remains weak,” the rating agency said, adding that resumption in mining after the Supreme Court ruling in Karnataka could improve the outlook “to some extent”.

However, it noted that a massive revival in exports is unlikely in the near future, due to the five per cent export duty on pellets and continuing restrictions on mining in Goa and Orissa.

Icra acknowledged that there has been a revival in project clearance from the central administrative ministry’s side during this fiscal. According to the shipping ministry, it has achieved the target of awarding 30 projects which entail an investment of Rs 21,000 crore.

The report said reforms on tariff setting are welcome but underlined the need to pass on the benefits to existing operators to offer a level playing field.

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