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Coal Traffic at Indian Ports Drop 4% MoM in February 2024

India: Coal traffic at ports drop 4% m-o-m in Feb'24

Total coal traffic (including coking and non-coking) handled at Indian ports stood at 29.79 million tonnes (mnt) in February 2024, down 4% m-o-m from 30.98 mnt in January, as per BigMint data.

Note: Port traffic refers to shipments via imports, exports, and coastal movement between different ports in India.

Why coal traffic fell in Feb?

Drop in import volumes

Shipments from South Africa dropped by 19% m-o-m to 2.13 mnt in February as against 2.65 mnt in January. Buyers, who traditionally rely on seaborne supplies, are now indicating a preference for domestic coal. This noticeable shift towards domestic supplies suggests that while there is an improvement in demand, buyers are increasingly favouring domestic coal over imported options.

Shipments from Australia dropped 15% m-o-m to 0.90 mnt in February as against 1.07 mnt in January. Imports dropped amid supply constraints in Australia due to maintenance shutdown at ports. Australia’s Hay Point Port is scheduled for maintenance shutdown from 29 January- 15 February. During this maintenance period congestion at other prominent ports in Australia may be seen, impacting coal exports for the entirety of February.

Rise in domestic production

State-run miner Coal India Ltd (CIL) continued its robust performance in terms of production in February. CIL’s production rose by 9% y-o-y to 74.8 mnt in February 2024 as against 68.8 mnt in February 2023. During the month of February 2024, coal dispatches rose by 12% y-o-y to 65.3 mnt compared to 58.3 mnt in February 2023. This surge in domestic supply helped stabilize import volumes.

Key ports handling thermal coal

As per BigMint data, thermal coal traffic at Paradip Port was recorded at 3.84 mnt in February 2024, dropped by 30% m-o-m against 5.51 mnt in January 2024. Mundra Port handled 3.02 mnt and Krishnapatnam 3.34 mnt. Port traffic at Tuticorin (up by 6%) and Gangavaram (down by 26%) were recorded at 1.67 mnt and 1.15 mnt respectively in the month of February 2024.

Key Ports handling coking coal

Paradip Port recorded the highest number of vessels in February 2024, carrying 1.54 mnt, followed by Dhamra (up by 23%) at 0.84 mnt. Traffic at Haldia Port increased by 2% to 0.83 mnt in February 2024 as against 0.81 mnt in January 2024. Ennore and Hazira ports recorded significant surge of more than twofold in February 2024 at 0.21 mnt and 0.83 mnt, respectively.


As summer approaches, India’s demand for non-coking coal is expected to increase, potentially leading to a rise in imports and subsequent coal traffic at ports. However, due to the prevailing subdued demand and upcoming general elections in India, it could impact the coal traffic for coking coal in the coming months.

Source: Bigmint