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Indian export slowdown hurts containerised trade growth


India’s merchandise exports slipped for the second month in a row in January amid the demand downturn from global economic headwinds.

The value of Indian exports was down 6.6% year-over-year to US$ 32.81 billion in January, according to new government data.

However, that decline was slower than the 12% deceleration reported in December 2022.

“Exports continue to remain in the negative territory mainly on account of global slowdown and rising inflation giving dent to the international demand,” said A Sakthivel, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).

He further noted that “as expected, the challenges still continue due to recession like situation in most economies across the world.”

Sakthivel went on to explain, “The decline in exports during the month is also a reflection of the continued geo-political tensions between Russia and Ukraine, tightening global financial conditions and contraction in demand. High inventories and volatility in currencies have further added to such a challenging situation.”

Despite the challenges, FIEO is hopeful that the export industry will register respectable growth in the current fiscal year (2022-23), which ends on 31 March.

India’s merchandise exports hit a new high of US$417.81 billion in 2021-22, surpassing the government’s target goal of US$400 billion.

As a consequence of the export-import trade downturn, container volumes at Indian ports have slowed in recent months.

From April 2022 through January 2023, the first 10 months of fiscal 2022-23, the country’s 12 government ports, commonly known as major ports, together handled 9.45 million TEUs, up 1.2% from 9.34 million TEUs a year earlier. Of this, Nhava Sheva Port (JNPA) contributed about 5 million TEUs, compared with 4.7 million TEUs in the same 10-month period of 2021-22.

For the whole of 2022, the port saw an all-time high of 5.9 million TEUs, a year-over-year gain of 5.8%

“The year 2022 was phenomenal for JNPA as we achieved the milestone of handling the highest-ever traffic at the port,” said chairman Sanjay Sethi in a statement, pointing out that “the performance of all our terminal operators is noteworthy.”

Amid growing competition from privately-operated minor ports, Chennai Port’s throughput for the first 10 months of the fiscal year 2022-23 dropped to 1.2 million TEUs from 1.3 million TEUs, data shows.

At the same time, Adani Group’s Mundra Port continues to consolidate its market share, aided by more long-haul service additions. The country’s busiest container handler ended January with 569,263 TEUs, up from 549,432 TEUs in December, according to exclusive data obtained by Container News.

According to the data, the four Adani Group-controlled Mundra terminals together handled 471,646 TEUs last month, versus 451,491 TEUs during December. Of this, transshipment handling stood at 135,320 TEUs, up from 134,269 TEUs in December.

“We are confident of continuing our strong performance in the coming quarters given the presence of various catalysts, particularly the operational ramp up of facilities commissioned/acquired in the last few months,” Adani Group said in a recent statement.

Source: Container News

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