TIN news: In a reversal of trend, iron ire traffic in the country has started gaining momentum. Compared to a fall of 28 per cent last financial year, iron ore shipments through major ports in the April-May period of 2015-16 has shown a rebound, recording a surge of 523 per cent, helped by both domestic movement of ore and exports.
Till the end of May, the major ports clocked 7.47 million tonne (mt) of iron ore, including iron ore pellets as against 1.2 mt handled in the corresponding period of last financial year.
Among the major ports, Mormugao port was the biggest gainer, its iron ore cargo led the recovery, leading to a whopping growth of 125 per cent for the port in the April-May period. In this period alone, the port handled 3.5 mt of iron ore, compared to a minuscule 0.1 mt in the year-ago period. In fact, iron ore traffic accounted for more than half of the port’s total cargo of 6.7 mt in the period.
For Paradip port, the iron ore traffic grew four-fold from 0.12 mt to 0.5 mt. Similarly, Visakhapatnam port’s iron ore cargo trebled to 1.8 mt from 0.6 mt.
“The parity in railway freight coupled with removal of export duty for low grade ore (with iron content less than 58 per cent) has boosted exports. On the domestic front, there is surplus iron ore availability as a result of which import dependence has come down, leading to more movement of ore”, said an industry source.
Data by Indian Ports Association shows iron ore is the bright spot among commodities like finished fertilisers and coking coal which were in the zone of de-growth. Thermal coal and liquid cargo (crude oil, LPG and CNG) have remained flat.
Globally too, iron ore shipments were on a record high in June, fuelling speculation that ore prices could sink below $50 a tonne mark. With expanding shipments from Australia and slowing steel output in China, prices of iron ore are expected to be under duress. While Australia is the biggest exporter, China is the largest buyer of iron ore.
Currently, iron ore prices (with iron content of 62 per cent) are hovering around $56 per tonne. Iron ore prices saw an unprecedented rebound to $70 a tonne in April this year, gaining massively from a lowly $39 in December last year.