Paradip Port has witnessed a surge in coal handling on the back of an increase in coastal shipping of thermal coal and imports of thermal and coking coal from other countries due to higher demand.
According to P L Haranadh, Chairman of Paradip Port Authority, coastal shipping of thermal coal is up by nearly 60 per cent so far this year and expected to cross 40 million tonne (mt) as against 28 mt during last year. Coal imports from countries such as Australia, Indonesia and South Africa has also been happening in a big way.
Paradip Port undertakes coastal shipping of thermal coal to gencos in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Coal from Mahanadi Coalfields, which is situated around 200 kms away from Paradip, comes by rail to the port. This works out to be much cheaper as compared to all rail routes, directly upto destinations.
“We have seen a massive jump in coastal shipping of thermal coal because our rates are cheaper and we have been able to create the necessary operational ease. The capacity to handle at our terminals has increased to close to around 55 rakes now as compared to around 20 rakes earlier. This has been possible due to commissioning of new terminal and improvement of operational procedures at old terminal,” Haranadh told businessline.
This apart, there has been a surge in demand for both coking coal for steel manufacturing units and thermal coal for power plants during the year in anticipation of higher demand . Coking coal from Australia and South Africa and thermal coal from South Africa and Indonesia has been “coming in a big way”, he said.
Paradip Port has brought about substantial improvement in operations, thereby enabling better traffic handling. The overall productivity of the port has gone up to around 30,000 tonnes a day as against close to 25,000 tonnes a day earlier.
“The improved productivity is mainly due to streamlining of processes by improving crane availability, bringing in berth mechanisation and putting in place improved railway loading system. So we are able to handle more traffic. This year we also plan to coastal ship thermal coal to gencos, located on the west coast, for the first time in the history of the Paradip port,” he said.
Paradip Port which had handled close to 116 mt of cargo in 2021-22, is expecting to be able to handle more than 125 mt of cargo this year on the back of huge surge in coal handling.