Rail traffic swallows at New Mangalore Port

Railway traffic was not in the radar of New Mangalore Port a decade ago. Now, New Mangalore Port is emerging as a vital hub for railway-bound traffic, if the performance of 2012-13 is any indication.

The port, which handled mere 5.67 lakh tonnes of railway-bound cargo in 2004-05, was able to handle 6.03 Million Tonnes (mt) in 2012-13. In fact, the railway-bound traffic at New Mangalore Port registered a growth of 55% during the period.

This handling is almost one-sixth of the total handling of cargo at New Mangalore Port during the period. The port handled a total traffic of 37.03 mt of cargo during 2012-13 as against 32.94 mt in 2011-12.

The railway infrastructure development inside the port and in its hinterland has contributed significantly to the growth in railway-bound cargoes over the years. The deep-draught berth and the harbor mobile crane at the port have been helping the port to attract more cargo, boosting the railway-bound traffic.

A major share of the cargo of Hassan-Mangalore Rail Development Company (HMRDC) Limited, which comes under the South Western Railway zone network, is dependent on NMPT.

Formed as a special purpose vehicle by the Railways and the Karnataka Government, the HMRDC Limited commissioned the 183 km stretch of railway line between Hassan and New Mangalore in 2006.

It is not the first time that the port handled 6 mt of railway-bound traffic. The railway-bound traffic was 6.7 mt during 2009-10. Then the railway-bound traffic was dependent on iron ore fines. With the ban on the export of iron ore fines, the share of this commodity also came down gradually. The railway-bound cargo from New Mangalore Port came down to 4.7 mt in 2010-11 and 3.9 mt in 2011-12. The total loading of cargo from New Mangalore was 6.5 mt, constituting 91.9% to the overall loading of the Palakkad division. Railway networks, such as Konkan Railway, should make more efforts to boost the movement of fertilizer from New Mangalore Port to various destinations in the northern hinterland areas of the port.