MUMBAI, March 3 (Reuters) - Indian sugar mills' output rose by a fifth to 23.38 million tonnes in the first five months of the 2020/21 marketing year from a year earlier, while a few mills closed operations ahead of normal schedule, a trade body said on Wednesday.
In the current marketing year that begun on Oct. 1, 502 sugar mills have started operations, but 98 mills stopped crushing by February end, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said in a statement.
Around 70 mills had stopped crushing by February end last year.
Maharashtra, the country's second biggest sugar producing state, churned out 8.5 million tonnes of sugar in the first five months of the season, compared to 5.07 million tonnes a year ago, ISMA said.
Mills have contracted to export 3.2 million tonnes of sugar so far in the current marketing year, but shipments are slowed by shortage of trucks and containers as well as adequate availability of vessels at the ports, the trade body said.
Logistical bottlenecks could trim India's sugar exports by 12% to 5 million tonnes in the current marketing year, industry officials told Reuters last week.
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