First-half of FY20 witnessed subdued activity in terms of cargo volumes and passenger traffic, according to CARE Ratings report. Airline traffic and port traffic managed to report low growth whereas railway freight recorded 0.5% de-growth during the first half of the current fiscal.
Global economic slowdown and trade-war has impacted trade volumes globally in addition to weak domestic trade volume. Major ports recorded 1.5% growth during H1FY20 vs 5.2% growth during the corresponding period in the previous year.
Airline passenger traffic recorded marginal growth (<1%). International passenger traffic recorded marginal negative growth and cargo volumes recorded 7.6% decline during April-Sept 2019. Grounding of operations by a major airline in the month of April has led to decline in international passenger and cargo traffic during the first six months.
Railway freight volumes recorded 0.5% negative growth in cargo handled in terms of tonnage. This is a considerable decline from 5.4% growth recorded in H1-FY19.
The volume and passenger numbers across major transport modes have remained weak during FY20. The numbers relate well with subdued economic activity – both domestic and foreign trade.
The 12 major ports recorded 1.5% increase in cargo volume handled during H1-FY20 y-o-y vs 5.2% recorded during the corresponding period in the previous year. Growth was mainly on account of increased coking coal volume (15.2%), iron-ore including pellets (about 35%) and finished fertilizers. Coking coal and iron-ore together account for about 15% of the total cargo handled by the major ports.
Fertilizer (including raw materials) volumes recorded a 16.9% decline, followed by thermal coal which recorded 13.2% decline and miscellaneous cargo which recorded 10.3% decline. Petroleum and its products (POL), which accounts for about 33% of India’s trade volume, registered 2.1% growth in volume to 117.1 million tonnes during H1FY20.
Total cargo volume handled by railways declined by 0.5% during H1-FY20 y-o-y vs 5.4% growth recorded during the corresponding period in the previous year. A host of factors which includes prolonged monsoon and economic slowdown has led to freight volumes being impacted. Among major cargo segments, coal volume declined by 1.1% during H1-FY20 and the decline number bears significance as it accounts for 45-50% of railways freight volume.
Cement volumes declined by 10% during H1FY20 y-o-y to 52 million tonnes. Slowdown in construction activity due to prolonged monsoons has been one of the factors impacting cement demand during the first half of FY20. Steel and Iron (including pig iron, iron-ore & finished steel) accounted for over 20% of the freight volume and recorded 6% growth in cargo volume handled by railways. Fertilizer volume witnessed a marginal decline. Petroleum products and container cargo recorded marginal growth during the year.
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