Indian iron ore shipments up 169%

Growth in steel output, resumption of exports in mining states seen as factors

The amount of iron ore handled by India's ports has more than doubled in the period between April 2016 and January 2017.

In a recent report by the Indian Ports Association, quoted by Economic Times, the country's 12 major ports handled 169% more iron ore cargo – a total of 38.61 million tonnes – in the April to January period compared to the same period the year previously, when just 14.37 million tonnes crossed the nation's docks.

The increase in tonnage can partially be explained by a resumption in production from India's top iron exporting state of Goa in the summer of 2015, led by Vedanta Resources (LON:VED), after an almost three-year hiatus.

Iron ore output contracted 9.4% every year between 2012 and 2016 following mining bans in Goa, Odisha and Karnataka, Economic Times points out. Those bans are no longer in place, meaning analysts are bullish on Indian iron ore production.

BMI Research said last month it projects output to increase to 185 MT in the next four years, from 136 MT in 2017.

The boost is not only due to the spike in the iron ore price, which reached a 30-month high on Feb. 20, but also a surge in global steel production.

World Steel Association data released in February showed a 7% jump in global steel output in January to 136.5 million tonnes.

World number three steel producer India recorded the biggest gain of the major producing countries, with output increasing by 12% year-on-year.