Southern Railway’s loading of coal from Kamarajar port drops in first half

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on October 14, 2016

A coal-loaded rail wagon moving towards Kamarajar Port (file photo) B Jothi Ramalingam   -  THE HINDU

Increased wind power generation, TNEB plants’ overhauling cited as reasons

Increased wind power generation, coupled with overhauling of power plants belonging to Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB), led to a significant drop in loading of coal by Southern Railway (SR) from Kamarajar port in Ennore during the first half of the current financial year.

Southern Railway ferries the highest volume of coal for TNEB power plants from Kamarajar port. In April to September 2016, it loaded 800 rakes of coal from the port for power plant at Mettur as against around 1,050 rakes in first half of last year. For power plant at Vadalur, Southern Railway loaded 200 rakes less this year compared with the previous year, according to a senior official.

“We were told by TNEB officials that the drop in coal demand was mainly due to high wind power generation. It is a significant loss of cargo and revenue for the Railway in the first half. This is the first time that the loss is huge for us. It is going to be very difficult to offset the loss with any other cargo,” he said.

Each rake has 59 wagons and can carry around 3,400 tonnes of coal. Every day, around six rakes of coal were moved from the port to Mettur. To offset the loss from coal cargo, Southern Railway is trying to increase loading of other cargo such as fertiliser, foodgrains and pet coke. However, the volume may not be as high as coal, the official said.

Kamarajar port handling

For Kamarajar port, coal handling for TNEB declined by nearly 10 per cent to 9.29 million tonnes in the first half from 10.27 MT in same period last year. The port handled 158 ships carrying coal for TNEB in the first half of the current fiscal against 172 vessels in the same period last year, said a port official, giving the same reasons for the slump.

Rise in auto traffic

While coal traffic was down, Southern Railway witnessed a significant increase in movement of automobile by rail with 93 rakes in the first half as against 71 last year. Automobiles were loaded at Melpakkam and Tiruvallur to destinations in the North-East, and to Jaipur in Rajasthan and Sanand in Gujarat.

Some of the cars moved through rail include Renault, Hyundai and Ford. Each rake has 27 wagons and each wagon can carry five to seven cars depending on the size, he said.

Published on October 14, 2016
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