Coal fires New Mangalore Port cargo growth

A. J. Vinayak | Updated on March 12, 2018

Facilities such as harbour mobile cranes and deep-draught berth aregiving a push to coal cargo movement at the New Mangalore Port.

Coal is emerging as an important cargo for New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT). A growth of 118 per cent in the handling of coal cargo during the first eight months of the current fiscal is an indication of this.

The port, which once thrived on iron ore fines (IOF) cargo, was affected when the export of iron ore was stopped by the Karnataka Government. Of the total 36.69 million tonnes (MT) of cargo handled during 2008-09, the share of IOF was 8.12 MT. It was an all-time high in the handling of IOF cargo in the history of the port.

Surpassing iron ore

The once-thriving IOF was relegated to the position of a minor commodity in 2011-12. Of the 32.94 MT of total cargo handling at the port, IOF’s share was only 49,000 tonnes.

Coal cargo is now filling the void created by IOF at the port. In 2011-12, the port handled 4.02 MT of coal cargo.

Surpassing this figure in the first eight months of 2012-13, the port handled 4.4 MT of coal cargo in the first eight months of 2012-13 as against 2.04 MT in the corresponding period of previous fiscal. Of this, the Udupi Thermal Power Corporation (UPCL) handled around 16.31 lakh tonnes against 9.30 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period. The other private players in the hinterland areas, such as Bellary, handled around 2.77 MT (1.11 MT) of coal during the period.

During April-November of 2012-13, all the major ports in the country handled a total of 55.92 MT of coal cargo.

The other major ports such as Paradip, Ennore, Visakhapatnam and Mormugao handled 16.36 MT, 8.92 MT, 6.61 MT and 4.93 MT during the period.

P. Tamilvanan, Chairman of NMPT, told Business Line that coal will contribute a significant share to the cargo movement at the port during the current financial year.

Better facilities help

Facilities in the form of a deep-draught berth and harbour mobile cranes to handle gearless vessels and good railway connectivity are boosting this growth, he said.

Explaining this, Tamilvanan said that the port is not putting the coal vessel everywhere. It segregates the vessel so that coal is handled in a particular berth. The berth no. 14 with a draught of 14 metres is used for this.

With the help of harbour mobile crane at the port, gearless vessels with 90,000 DWT (deadweight tonnage) can be handled comfortably without any delay in that berth, he said.

Gearless vessels are ships without cranes or conveyors. These ships depend on shore-based equipment at their ports of call for loading and discharging.

UPCL, which operates a 1,200-MW thermal power station 25 km north of NMPT in the nearby Udupi district, handles coal cargo in its dedicated berth at the port. UPCL, which is a Lanco Group company, expects to receive around three to four MT of coal a year. Cargo discharged at the port is transported in closed wagons to the thermal plant site in Udupi district.

Tamilvanan said that there are lot of enquiries from various coal users in the hinterland areas such as Bellary and Hassan, and they want to transport the cargo from New Mangalore Port.

Railway cargo

The port, which had five railway lines in its limits a few years ago, now has 14 lines. This has helped in the handling of more and more cargoes at the port, he said.

In fact, coal cargo has contributed significantly for the cargo profile of Hassan-Mangalore Rail Development Company Ltd (HMRDC) during 2011-12. HMRDC was set up in 2003 as a joint venture between the Karnataka Government and the Railways to take over the gauge conversion of the Hassan-Mangalore railway line. NMPT is a strategic partner with a shareholding of 8.93 per cent in the company.

Coal, which contributed five per cent to the gross revenue of HMRDC in 2010-11, was the second major contributor with 22 per cent share in the gross revenue during 2011-12.

During the current financial year, coal is emerging as the major commodity for the cargo profile of HMRDC also. Coal contributed 45.49 per cent to the gross revenue of HMRDC during April-October in 2012-13.

Tamilvanan said that railway-bound cargoes from New Mangalore Port have also seen a growth in the first eight months of the current fiscal. The port handled 3.8 MT of railway-bound cargo (2.36 MT) during the period with coal being the major component in that.

Earlier, there used to be shortage of rakes for coal movement. Now there is no such problem. Proper coordination by NMPT between all the agencies concerned and the users is helping in the growth of railway-bound cargo also, he said.

Betting hopes on coal cargo, Tamilvanan said the port will be able to cross total cargo handling figures of the last fiscal. “The port handled 32.94 MT in 2011-12. I am confident of touching 34 MT during 2012-13,” he added.

> vinayak.aj@thehindu.co.in

Published on December 09, 2012

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