India’s Essar Ports group says it is seeing encouraging signs of recovery after a difficult start to the first quarter of the current financial year. There is, the company reports, a noticeable upturn in activity in the steel, power, and mining sectors, which helped the group handle 11.23 million tonnes overall in these three months.
Between March and May this year, the longest lockdown of the world was imposed across India to check the spread of COVID-19. Business operations came to a halt and all industries were affected. Consequently, there was a big dip in cargo handling operations in April, during which time only 2.52 million tonnes were handled at Essar’s network of ports around the Indian coast. However, in June this year throughput bounced back to 4.41 million tonnes, 75% higher.
Essar Ports CEO and Managing Director, Rajiv Agarwal, says, “In June 2020, unlock was unleashed across the country, and the economy immediately started displaying green shoots of recovery. Our terminals, which remained operational despite challenges faced through the successive phases of the lockdown, clocked an impressive level of cargo handling and we are well placed and prepared to ensure the nation’s economic engines are up and running in the most efficient manner.”
Essar Ports is one of the largest private sector port operators in India in terms of capacity and throughput. It has four operational terminals in India, in Hazira and Salaya on the west coast, and in Visakhapatnam and Paradip on the east. The current operational capacity of these terminals is 110 million tonnes a year.