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India's box throughput up 9pc in Oct after six months of volume declines

CONTAINERISED shipments through Indian ports are seeing a stronger-than-expected sequential rebound after nose diving during Covid-19 lockdowns

15 November 2020 - 19:00

CONTAINERISED shipments through Indian ports are seeing a stronger-than-expected sequential rebound after nose diving during Covid-19 lockdowns.

Total throughput in and out of the country's ports reached 1.57 million TEU in October, up 9 per cent from September and 14.6 per cent from August, according to an IHS Media analysis of port authority data.



Last month's stark turnaround was also a 9 per cent increase from October 2019.



'There is a continuous, marked demand improvement, especially on the outbound front, after economic activities reopened with the lifting of lockdowns in a staggered manner,' a local industry observer said. 'We expect this upward trend [in container trade] to sustain in the coming months.'



India's busiest public gateway, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), broke a six-month streak of year-over-year volume declines in October, with monthly volume rising 5 per cent to 423,155 TEU. 'After facing steep contraction, [the port] is now on the road to recovery,' JNPT chairman Sanjay Sethi said in a statement.



Mundra, the country's largest privately operated port, handled an all-time high 519,133 TEU last month, a 14.3 per cent gain from September and a 29.2 per cent year-over-year increase, the IHS Media analysis showed.



According to Maersk, total container trade in and out of India tumbled roughly 30 per cent year over year in the second quarter of 2020. 'However, as economies around the world start opening, India's exports gained momentum and showed signs of a V-shaped recovery,' the ocean carrier said in its latest regional trade report.



Indian shippers have also expressed optimism in their outlook for the remainder of the year.



Despite the optimism, a rapid resurgence in Covid-19 infections across several major economies, coupled with new restrictions on travel and commerce, could blunt expectations for a stronger fourth-quarter finish and a more buoyant start to 2021. 'There are evolving reasons to be skeptical about economic conditions,' a carrier official noted.


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