How Visakhapatnam Port Trust could woo back TANGEDCO to ship coal

State-run Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) has managed to woo back one of its top customers - Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO) which had switched loyalties since March this year to Paradip Port Trust, also state-owned, for shipping coal sourced by the power utility from the Talcher and Ib Valley coal mines of Mahanadi Coal Fields Ltd in Orissa.

The issue demonstrates how ports such as VPT, gear up for competition to retain cargo.

At stake was 2.398 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of thermal coal that TANGEDCO wants to move through a rail-cum-sea mode from the mine heads in Jharsuguda district.

For 35 years, TANGEDCO has been using VPT to ship the thermal coal arriving on rail wagons from the Talcher and Ib Valley collieries. The power utility had hired a logistics provider/handling agent for transporting the coal from the mines to VPT on open wagons, stacking at designated storage location, shifting coal from stack yard to the berth and loading onto ships nominated by TANGEDCO.

From March 1 this year, TANGEDCO stopped shipping coal through VPT citing high costs associated with the exercise and said it was weighing other cost-effective means for moving coal.

A part of the coal is now transported directly by rail to the Mettur Thermal Power Station, for which the cost of coal and railway freight is paid by TANGEDCO.

TANGEDCO said it has already started movement of Talcher/Ib Valley coal by rail-sea mode through Paradip Port Trust and was exploring ....

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