Adani Ports and Special Economic Zones Ltd (APSEZ) has crossed the milestone of handling 300 million tonnes (mt) of cargo at its 12 ports this year following a sharp increase in India’s export-import trade. It was achieved in 22 years since it started operating at its main port in Mundra, Gujarat.
While it took 14 years to reach the first 100 mt annually through five ports, APSEZ doubled it to 200 mt annually through nine ports in the next five years. Now, with 12 ports under its belt, APSEZ has seen its cargo volume zoom from 200 mt to 300 mt in just three years.
India’s exports and imports (in value terms) recorded strong growth of 46.49 percent and 59.96 percent, respectively, after a two-year hiatus due to pandemic-led weak demand in the domestic and global markets. India crossed $400 billion in merchandise exports on Wednesday.
Growth in container handling
For the maritime sector, this growth in trade has resulted in a 6-7 percent growth in cargo handling at all ports along the Indian coast. In particular, containers handled at Indian ports have grown rapidly at 13.4 percent over the 11 months of FY22, in line with overall trade growth.
FILE PHOTO: A general view of a container terminal is seen at Mundra Port, one of the ports operated by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zones of India Ltd, in Gujarat state, western India April 1, 2014.
Port industry sources said that APSEZ has played well into India’s growth story with world-class infrastructure and physical performance, combined with a customer-centric culture, aided by digital interventions.
APSEZ, India’s largest integrated transport utility, grew by 21.6 percent (all India growth of 6.4 percent vs. 28.0 percent in APSEZ) for 11 months of FY22. With over 80 percent of India’s consumption and industrial hinterlands covered, APSEZ is strategically and critically aligned with the country’s needs.
“APSEZ’s strategy to provide multiple entry and exit points by diversifying our geographic footprint, single window services to shipping lines, integrated supply chain solutions to end customers, while partnering with major shipping companies through joint ventures enables and fosters continued gains in market share ,” said Karan Adani, Chief Executive Officer, APSEZ.
The Gautam Adani-owned port operator runs India’s largest commercial port (across public and private ports) at Mundra. Mundra serves the rural north-west of India, with almost half of the market share for manufacturing and agricultural trade based on origin.
The port’s sphere of influence
In 2021, Mundra joins the league of top 25 global container handling ports, according to Alphaliner. Hazira Port is the dominant port of entry for the Ankleshwar-Vapi region which is the chemical hub of the country. Katuppalli and Ennore ports serve the auto manufacturing industry with a growing share in the hinterland.
Krishnapatnam port serves the energy needs of Andhra Pradesh with two critical thermal power plants located in its vicinity apart from serving the steel industry and agriculture sector in the hinterland.
Gangavaram port is uniquely positioned with a port-based steel plant (RINL) adjacent while Dharma port is a dominant player in the steel hub of Kalinanagar and Jharkhand regions. The currently under construction Vizhinjam port along with the planned container terminal at Colombo port will serve as a transshipment hub in the region.
FILE PHOTO: A dozer unloads wheat next to a ship at Mundra Port, one of the ports operated by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zones of India Ltd, in Gujarat state, western India April 1, 2014.
Among the cargo segments, APSEZ runs India’s largest container handling facility. It has a market share of 42 percent in containers and is on track to handle almost half of India’s total containers soon.
“Our efforts to strengthen our position in the container segment at newer locations and offer unique solutions to shipping companies resulted in the addition of eight new container services of which five services were added at Mundra port and one each at Hazira and Kattupalli ports,” Karan Adani said.
Dedicated Transport Corridor
Mundra’s alignment to the Dedicated Transport Corridor (DFC) adds to the seamless transfer of containers. The movement of double-stack containers in and out of Mundra and the opening of part of the DFC stretch have started to improve the turnaround time in the circuit and reduce the time interval for containers between users and the Mundra port, Karan added.
On the west coast, Mundra port is on track to become a 150 mt cargo handling port early next year while the combined west coast cargo handling is nearing the 200 mt mark. On the east coast, APSEZ has crossed the 100 mt milestone in the current fiscal with the east-west parity of cargo handled at the port now at 38 percent on the east coast to 62 percent on the west coast.
APSEZ has a dominant market share of about 45 percent of India’s thermal coal imports and about one-third of coking coal imports. India is heavily dependent on imported fertilizers for its agricultural sector. APSEZ handles nearly 40 percent of India’s fertilizer imports at its port facilities. It also handles about one-fifth of the all-important edible oil imports at its ports.
ASPEZ handles nearly one-fifth of steel exports, four-fifths of specialty chemicals, about one-tenth of crude imports and nearly half of India’s salt exports.
India’s share in world merchandise trade is projected to grow to 5 percent by 2025 from 1.7 percent in 2019. The signing of free trade agreements with many countries will translate into a sustainable high growth trajectory for APSEZ and help achieve the target of handling 500 mt cargo by 2025 and emerge as world’s largest private port company by 2030, Karan added.