Iron ore traffic, including pellets, at major ports saw a sharp fall of 28 per cent in financial year 2015-16 as imports declined because of weak demand. Total iron ore cargo fell to 13 mn t from 18 mn t a year ago. Iron ore imports fell from 15.6 mn t to 5 mn t in 2015-16 because of oversupply in domestic market. There was hardly any export of iron ore as steep export duty prevailed throughout the FY16. Export duty waiver for low grade ore has been announced in Budget for FY17.
The slump in iron ore traffic weighed on cargo throughput of eastern ports. In case of Paradip Port, iron ore cargo nosedived from 3.4 mn t to 0.2 mn t year-on-year. Iron ore traffic at Visakhapatnam fell from 8.36 mn t to 5.97 mn t.