Container Terminus of Container Corporation of India. (File Photo: IANS). Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, Nov 29 : India's port volumes are yet to recover fully from the Covid-19 pandemic-induced trends such as shortage of containers amid a demand-supply imbalance, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra).

In a report on India's logistics sector, the ratings agency said that in October 2020, India's port volumes continued the recovery momentum with a month-on-month (MoM) increase of 5 per cent.

"While port volumes maintain the recovery momentum, they are yet to recover fully. During April-October 2020, the overall volumes fell 12 per cent YoY (year-on-year), the report added.

"The recovery in October 2020 was led by strong growth in fertilisers, coal and iron-ore volumes. Except petroleum, oil, lubricants and other liquids, all commodity volume registered growth in October 2020.

It pointed out that container freight rates remained elevated with a substantial increase of nearly 70 per cent during March-October 2020 due to the shortage of containers amid a demand-supply imbalance.

Besides, the report revealed that the port dwell time for import containers at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) witnessed a monthly improvement to 19 hours in October 2020.

"The port dwell time for export containers remained at nearly 78 hours in October 2020, it said.

The road transportation has witnessed traction with an improvement in the economic activities, the report added.

"E-way bill collection at 64 million in October 2020 grew 12 per cent MoM and 21 per cent YoY and stood 12 per cent higher than pre-Covid level, the report said.

"Average freight rates remained flat in October 2020. Diesel prices though declined to nearly Rs 70.5 per litre in October from Rs 70.6 per litre in September 2020.

In terms of railway sector, the report said the market share of this sub-segment increased in October to 22 per cent for export containers and 21 per cent for import containers, possibly due to tariff rationalisation initiatives such as discount on containers taken by Indian Railways to boost freight operations.

The air transport remained the most affected, the report added.

"Since reopening in June 2020, both domestic and international air traffic continued to sequentially improve in September 2020, the agency said.

"Domestic passenger traffic rose 40 per cent in September 2020, though was down 65 per cent YoY while international passenger traffic rose 12 per cent, though remained down 88 per cent YoY.

"Passenger load factors for domestic flights ranged from 58-73 per cent during September 2020. Freight traffic continued to improve in August. Domestic and international freight traffic was up 26 per cent and 12 per cent MoM, respectively, in September 2020.

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