India's V.O. Chidambaranar (VOC) Port is all set for a four-fold increase in the capacity of two of its Coal Jetties – Jetty I and II from 6.25 million metric tonnes per annum to 24 MTPA.
The state-run power utility Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation
(Tangedco) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with VOC, Tuticorin for the construction of new Coal Jetty I and provision of shore unloaders and conveyor systems.
The Minister of Shipping and Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari and Minister for Electricity, Prohibition and Excise, Government of Tamil Nadu P. Thangamani were present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Gadkari said that the project would benefit both Tangedco and the VOCPT. It would make coal handling by the jetties much more voluminous and efficient, and thus bring down logistics costs. He said this would also allow for cheaper production of electricity, which would be very beneficial for industrial growth.
With the upgradation of the coal jetties, Tangedco will be able to handle additional volume of coal cargo for the upcoming new power plants in Uppur and Kadaladi in Ramanathapuram district
in Tamil Nadu.
In addition to this, there will be quicker turnaround of vehicles with the deployment of high tech handling equipments like two ship unloaders, each with a minimum 2000 TPH capacity and a high capacity conveyor system of 4000 TPH. This enhancement of handling capacity and upgradation of infrastructure will result in reduction of logistics costs.
Tangedco will therefore be able to utilize the services of the Port in a more cost-effective way. With the power generation from Tangedco’s Tuticorin plants being linked to the National Grid, this would enable availability of additional power at reduced costs, which, in turn, can fuel industrial growth and employment generation.
The project is the outcome of Ministry of Shipping’s Project Unnati, under which a study, ‘Unlocking National Ports Potential’ was done to improve the handling capacity of CJ-I & II.
The estimated cost for upgrading CJ-I & II is about INR 8 bln (USD 124 mln) As per the MoU, initially Coal Jetty-I will be upgraded in about 24 months by constructing a new Coal Jetty-I of 300m x25m along with repair of the existing CJ-I. CJ –II will be upgraded thereafter. The upgradation will give a competitive edge to VOC Port
and will help it maintain its lead position in coal handling.