zoomImage Courtesy: Essar Ports Following a successful first quarter, India’s port operator Essar Ports expects to meet its target of handling 60 million tons (MT) of cargo in FY 2020.For the quarter ended June 30, 2019, Essar Ports reported a 17.4 percent growth in cargo volumes across its four terminals.The combined throughput stood at 13.5 million tons, up from 11.5 million tons recorded in the same period last year.As explained, higher capacity utilization at the company’s recently commissioned terminals at Salaya and Vizag, and an increase in third-party cargo were the two key factors that will help the company achieve its target of handling 60 million tons of cargo by March 31, 2020. With throughput being 47 MT in FY19, this would translate to a growth of 27 percent, the port operator said.“Our business is on a record growth trajectory with all terminals operating in full swing. Significant boost in third-party business and enhanced capacity utilisation of our anchor customers has been the key driver for the growth in volumes,” Rajiv Agarwal, MD & CEO of Essar Ports, commented.“We have consistently surpassed the average sectorial growth rate and are confident of achieving our target by March 2020,” Agarwal added.Essar Ports is one of India’s largest private sector port and terminal developers and operators. Its current operations span four terminals with a combined capacity of 110 MTPA, which is roughly 5 percent of India’s port capacity.Outside India, Essar’s port assets include a liquid terminal in the UK and a coal terminal which is in the development stage at Mozambique’s Beira port.
President Pranab Mukherjee signed two key ordinances Friday, clearing the way for the auction of coal blocks that were ordered cancelled by the Supreme Court, and for a hike in foreign equity cap in the insurance industry from 26 percent to 49 percent.The legislations for the two measures could not be taken up in the Rajya Sabha as the opposition did not allow the upper house, where the government is in minority, to conduct business during the last few days of the winter session that ended Tuesday.A cabinet meeting Wednesday, presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, decided to issue the two ordinances so as to send a strong signal that the government will pursue reforms and would not allow disruptions in parliament to come in the way, an official said.The ordinance on coal is necessary for the government to hold auctions for the blocks that were ordered cancelled by the Supreme Court, while that on insurance will operationalise the reforms in the sector, the bill for which was okayed by the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha.”With the repromulgation of the ordinance on coal, the unfinished process of allocations can begin again,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said after the cabinet decision, adding that reforms will not be halted if the opposition does not cooperate.The government has, in fact, moved quickly on the coal auctions.A day after the cabinet approval for the allocation of coal blocks, a web portal was formally launched for e-auction of 24 coal mines which will be held in February. Soon after, the tender documents were also released.”Twenty-four blocks are being put up for auction in the first stage. The process will benifit the common man. Power tariff will not go up, I assure you, because in this case it will be reverse bidding, and tariffs will come down,” Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goel said.On insurance, the industry expects the upward revision in the foreign equity limits to result in an additional capital infusion of around Rs.50,000 crore ($8 billion) by 2020. This apart, it is also expected to help in increasing insurance penetration that is abysmally low now.The Indian insurance sector has 52 players — 28 in non-life business and 24 in life.