New Delhi, Jan 27 (PTI) Coal shipments handled by India’s 12 major ports saw a 16.28 per cent jump in the nine months ending December 2018 to 121.13 million tonnes (MT), according to ports’ body IPA.

Coal shipments, comprising thermal/steam and coking coal, were up 17 per cent and 15 per cent respectively in the April-December period of the ongoing fiscal.

These ports had handled 104.17 MT coal in April-December 2017.

The Indian Ports Association (IPA) said these state-run ports handled 78.24 MT of thermal/steam coal during the nine months against 66.87 MT in the year-ago period.

IPA in its latest report said the major ports handled shipments of 42.89 MT of coking coal during the nine months as against 37.30 MT in the year-ago period.

Thermal coal is the mainstay of India’s energy programme as 70 per cent of power generation is dependent on the dry fuel, while coking coal is used mainly for steel-making.

Paradip Port Trust in Odisha handled the highest thermal and steam coal shipments during the period at 24.39 MT, followed by Kamarajar Port (erstwhile Ennore) in Tamil Nadu at 18.17 MT and Deendayal Port Trust in Gujarat at 11.41 MT.

As regards coking coal, Kolkata port handled 14.12 MT during the period, followed by Paradip (9.45 MT) and Visakhapatnam (5.03 MT).

India is the third-largest producer of coal after China and the US and has 299 billion tonnes of resources and 123 billion tonnes of proven reserves, which may last for over 100 years.

Overall, the 12 major ports recorded 3.77 per cent growth in cargo traffic during April-December 2018 at 518.64 MT.

The growth was on account of higher handling of shipments such as coal, containers and finished fertilisers.

According to the shipping ministry, more than 50 projects with an investment of over Rs 10,000 crore and involving capacity addition of 90 million tonne per annum (MTPA) are targeted for award during 2018-19.

This is against 27 projects awarded during 2017-18, involving an investment of Rs 4,146.73 crore through which an additional capacity of 21.93 MTPA was created.

India has 12 major ports — Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT, Marmugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Kamarajar (Ennore), V O Chidambaranar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia) which handle approximately 61 per cent of the country’s total cargo traffic.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.