Mundra overtakes JNPT as India’s busiest port

Cargo ship at Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai. This port, also known as Nhava Sheva, is the largest container port in India

The Port of Mundra has overtaken the the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) as the busiest port in India, according to Adani Ports’ financial results for the first quarter of the financial year 2021.

Mundra handled 970,000 TEU in the first quarter, which ended on 30 June, surpassing JNPT’s volume of 850,000 TEU.

JNPT has long been the country’s busiest port and has an average annual volume of five million TEU. Mundra handles 4.4 million TEU a year, which is almost double its 2014 volume when it handled 2.7 million, and on current traffic it will overtake JNPT over a 12 month period.

However, both ports could be overtaken if the Indian government realises its ambitions of a new mega-port with a capacity of 20 million TEU at Vadhaven. Plans for the new port were announced in February 2020 and are meant to help India challenge the biggest ports in China.

Traffic across India’s ports and terminals has suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent government lockdown measures.

Adani Ports said cargo traffic across its portfolio fell by 27% and its revenue declined by 18%. However, in the month of July its cargo throughput increased by 6%, suggesting the country is past the worst of the pandemic.

India’s ports were hit twice by the pandemic, first by a drop in traffic at the beginning of the year and then as it struggled to clear the congestion caused by a resumption of Chinese exports.

“In first quarter of FY21, we were able to perform operationally at par with pre COVID levels,” Karan Adani, Chief Executive Officer and Whole Time Director of Adani, said.

“We kept supply chain running and stood by our customers to prove as a bankable service provider at all times ensuring stronger customer relationships and stickiness in cargo.

“During this period, we relooked at fundamentals of port operations and realigned costs, thus maintaining Port EBIDTA margin of 70%.

“With the worst behind us, we have emerged operationally stronger and resilient to externalities.

“Our focus continues on further improving efficiencies, reducing costs and closing out value accretive acquisitions namely Krishnapatnam Port and Dighi Port.

“We are happy to inform that we have signed up with Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and Task Force on climate related financial disclosure (TCFD) for reducing carbon emission with a commitment to become carbon neutral by 2025.

“We have diversified our board by inducting Mr. P.S. Jayakumar as an Independent director, with this Independent director constitute 55.5% of the board.

The resilience in the business is a testimony of the team’s commitment to excel.”

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