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Soyameal exports face wagon hurdles

M.R. Subramani

"We are facing problem in despatching consignments especially to Kandla and Gandhidham."

Chennai , Nov. 28

AFTER foodgrains, it is the turn of soyameal exports now to face hurdles due to non-availability of railway wagons.

"Soyameal exports are facing logistics problems as enough rakes (railway wagons) are not available, especially to Kandla port," Mr Sandeep Bajoria, Chairman of the Central Organisation for Oil Industry and Trade told Business Line.

"Movement of soyameal has been curtailed from centres such as Indore, Bhopal and Ratlam divisions," Mr D.R. Kalra, Secretary-General, Soyabean Processors Association of India, said.

For example, 176 indents had been made at Dewas railway station in Madhya Pradesh but against this, only 24 indents had been executed. This means, a demand for 176 rakes has been raised and, against this, only 24 have been allocated. Each rake has a capacity of 2,000 tonnes.

"We are facing problem in despatching consignments especially to Kandla and Gandhidham," Mr Kalra said.

According to Mr Bajoria, with the crushing of 9 lakh tonnes (lt) of soyabeans, availability of soyameal was a little over seven lt. Of this, nearly five lt are for exports. "But we have been able to move out hardly two tonnes," he said.

This fiscal, soyameal exports are expected to be around 30-32 lt against 13.3 lt last fiscal. "Of this, we have already got export contracts to the tune of 17 lt," Mr Kalra said.

Soyameal exports are looking up this year on higher soyabean production of 71 lt, global recovery of compound feed and failure of US soyabean crop. Soyameal prices are also fetching over $50 a tonne higher compared to prices during the same time last year. Currently, soyameal is quoted at $247-$249 a tonne f.o.b.

Soyameal exports are done through Kandla, Bedi, Mumbai, Visakhapatnam and Kakinada ports. Of this, Kandla accounts for 50 per cent.

"The issue of logistics needs to be sorted out. We have taken up the issue with the Railways but no cognisant result has been seen," Mr Bajoria said.

"We have suggested to the Railways to move the wagons from the North, where there is no movement of foodgrain currently," Mr Kalra said.

Asked if any force majeure has been declared, Mr Bajoria and Mr Kalra replied in the negative. A force majeure is formal suspension of contractual obligations due to unforeseen circumstances.

"But there has been some delay in sending the consignments. More time has been sought to fulfil contracts to the tune of 1-1.5 lt," Mr Bajoria said.

"The exporters have time until January to fulfil the contracts. We hope there will no problem," Mr Kalra said.

Foodgrain exports had run into problems since late last year as adequate wagons were not available. In view of this, the Government even suspended allocations of rice from the Food Corporation of India stocks. Rice exports are yet to revive.

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