Energy demand will boost port volumes, says APSEZ CEO Karan Adani

The energy sector is feeding a sizeable demand of both major and minor ports, which can be gauged from the commodity mix of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ), a good chunk of business generating from import and export of coal, crude and petroleum products.

“Whether you take import or export, energy is one big growth area and as the country keeps growing, the energy needs will increase whether it is coal, LNG, LPG or crude oil,” Karan Adani, chief executive officer (CEO), APSEZ, told Business Standard.

“We are expecting a huge growth in it,” he said.

APSEZ is an integration of three verticals consisting of ports, logistics and special economic zone. It has 10 ports and terminals — Mundra, Dahej, Kandla, and Hazira in Gujarat, Dhamra in Odisha, Mormugao in Goa, Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, and Kattupalli and Ennore in Chennai — representing 24 per cent of India's total port capacity.

Crude is always in demand and is mostly imported at India's west coast, while coal is imported from the east coast of the country. In bulk commodities, coal is one of the most imported items, in liquid cargo it is crude and rest is the container traffic. 

Former shipping secretary Vishwapati Trivedi said, “Crude imports is one of the biggest in the country and is a significant part of the port's business. Because of a dip in production at the Coal India mines, import has picked up. These commodities are therefore driving the port business.”

On the company's expansion plan, Adani said it was developing a trans-shipment container terminal at Vizhinjam in Kerala and building LNG and LPG terminals at Mundra and Dhamra ports, respectively.

The business opportunity for the private sector in the maritime space would go a long way in achieving the Union government's goal for the sector.

A government road map has been created for increasing the Indian port capacity to more than 3,500 million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa), which would cater to the projected traffic of 2,500 mmtpa by 2025.

For all the 12 major ports, master plans have been finalised — 112 port capacity expansion projects, costing Rs 696.36 billion have been identified for implementation over the next 20 years and are expected to add 780 mtpa to the capacities at major ports.

According to official figures, the major ports in India have recorded a growth of 3.91% and together handled 174.02 mt of cargo during the period April to June, as against 167.48 million tonnes handled during the corresponding period of previous year.

The highest growth was registered by Kamarajar port (11.93%), followed by Kolkata, including Haldia (10.21%), Paradip (9%), Cochin 7.85%) and Visakhapatnam (7.24%).

The Kamarajar port growth was mainly due to an increase in other liquids by 29.63%, miscellaneous cargo by 15.06%, POL by 7.51% and thermal coal by 4.93%.

Commodity-wise percentage share of POL was maximum i.e. 30.36%, followed by container (20.36%), thermal coal (16.26%), miscellaneous cargo (12.41%), coking and other coal (7.49%), iron ore and pellets (6.47%), other liquid (4.06%), finished fertiliser (1.42%), etc.

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