New Delhi, Oct 11 (PTI) Essar Ports today said its cargo handling saw a jump of 19 per cent in the first half of the ongoing fiscal to 17.35 MT, backed by enhanced capacity utilisation of anchor customer Essar Steel.Also Read - Here's What Better.Com CEO Has To Say After Sacking 900 Employees On Zoom Call

“Essar Ports handled 17.35 million tonnes (MT) of cargo in the first half of 2017-18 fiscal, registering 19 per cent growth when compared to the cargo handling in the corresponding period in 2016-17,” the company said in a statement. Also Read - Brutal Mass Firing: This CEO Terminated Over 900 Employees in US & India On a Zoom Call | Watch

It said the substantial growth in traffic came on the back of an improving steel market, leading to enhanced capacity utilisation of Essar Steel, which is Essar Ports’ anchor customer. Also Read - Parag Agrawal: 5 Lesser Known Facts About The New CEO Of Twitter

The company said it also registered 7 per cent growth in cargo handling in the quarter ended September 30 when compared to the same period in the previous fiscal.

“The first half of 2017-18, as well as the second quarter of the current financial year, have been very promising for Essar Ports. We completed the monetisation of the Vadinar Oil Terminal (VOTL)… We are confident of further growth and performance improvements in the next two quarters, as we prepare to commission our project at Vizag,” said Rajiv Agarwal, CEO & MD, Essar Ports.

Essar Ports – which has recently completed sale of VOTL to Essar Oil as part of Essar Oil s sale to Rosneft, and a consortium led by Trafigura and UCP – has three operational ports in Hazira, Vizag and Paradip.

It said all three ports registered healthy growth in cargo handling in April-September.

The company said the traffic growth was also helped by the 50 per cent increase in third-party cargo volumes during the said period.

“The iron ore terminal at Vizag Port surpassed past benchmarks and was able to deliver productivity in excess of 60,000 TPD (tonnes per day). The productivity is expected to be in excess of 1,00,000 TPD in the third quarter of 2017-18,” it said.

In the third quarter, the company said, it expects to commission the terminal facility at Vizag Port on the east coast of India.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.