it appears that we have turned a corner, and the demand seems to be on the
rise. Hopefully the unutilized capacity would be taken up.
is no going back on our Renewable Energy Targets. Though it’s a big task to get
to 175 Mw of renewable power by 2022, we are in the right direction. This by no
means would challenge Thermal Power for the next 2 to 3 decades. As we speak we
are likely to commence work on the much awaited 1320 Mw supercritical thermal
power project (TPP) at Udangudi in Thoothukudi district.
Grid Corporation is on the job of synchronisation of all regional grids which
will help in optimal utilization of scarce natural resources by transfer of
Power from Resource centric regions to Load centric regions. Further, this
shall pave way for establishment of vibrant Electricity market facilitating
trading of power across regions.
3. Tamil Nadu has been pioneer on Coastal shipping of coal having
established the Poompuhar Shipping Corporation way back in 1973. With both the
ships of the Corporation likely to be discarded due to age factor this year, what
do you think is the future of the Corporation?
Nadu truly in the real sense has been in the forefront of Coastal Shipping for
over 3 decades and Poompuhar Shipping Corporation has been at the center of it.
Though it would have been desirable for Poompuhar to continue to be a Ship
Owning Company, Poompuhar has long since been the chartering arm of TANGEDCO to
charter in bulk carriers for the coal transport from Haldia/Paradeep to
Ennore/Tuticorin and the chartered
tonnage has been 10 times the owned tonnage and hence Poompuhar will not
miss being a Ship Owning Company.
would do a lot of good if Poompuhar recruit professionals and bring in best
industry practices in its working and be truly independent of political
4.Will chartering of private vessels by TANJEDCO to carry coal from
Paradip to Ennore and Tuticorin ports in the absence of their own vessels prove
to be an expensive proposition for the state owned company? Should PoompuharShipping Corporation buy
ships taking advantage of lower prices in the international market and continue
with its forty year old operations?
Cabotage law is in operation in India. All Chartered in Vessels by Poompuhar
are Indian tonnage and many a times foreign tonnage was chartered in when
Indian tonnage was not available. In the last 10 years with the prevailing low
sea freight, Charterers have had a big advantage. In the last few months, the
freight rates are showing a small northward movement, but that does not affect
Poompuhar much as most of the charters are locked in for a year at least. The
performance of Poomphuhar as a ship
owning company, has not been good and has been a drain. Therefore unless the
Corporation is given full independence, it may not be a good idea to go in for
new building orders now. The second hand market too has bottomed out in 2017
and has turned around. It may be a
better idea to get other Indian Ship Owners to invest and take their vessels on
long term charters with built in safeguards against uncertainties.
You have signed an MOU with Tamil Nadu Maritime Board for
development of Port Novo captive port. What has been progress of the Project?
We are at the Design and Engineering stage and would soon commence
constructions after getting all the required permissions from relevant
You have also talked in terms of providing Coal logistics in
Cuddalore to the tune of 4.5 million tons a year, Can you elaborate?
The Port to be built at Paragepettai would have a capacity to handle
4.5 MMTPA for the captive requirement of our group’s Power Plant in the same
Between Cuddalore and Nagapatinam, a number of captive ports
have come up in the last twenty years. Now that Bharat Petroleum Corporation
has evinced interest in taking over the Nagarjuna Petroleum”s long pending
refinery and the Indian Oil corporation’s proposal to expand its existing
refinery in the Cauvery basin, What kind of down-stream industries are likely
to come up in the area?
That’s not correct. Between Cuddalore and Nagapatinam, there is only
one big operating Port and that’s
Karaikal Port, which is a common Port.
The Chemplast Port at Cuddalore, at Karaikal and the CPCL facility at
Karaikal are for captive purposes. The Paragepettai Port would be the yet
another Port (apart from the Cuddalore minor Port, which in its present state
is handling no cargo) and that would be a captive facility too. Therefore there
is really no overcapacity at present.
If Nagarjuna’s facility does get revived, it may be of interest to see
whether the new management would decide to construct a new Port or use existing
Ports in the vicinity. The Cargo being petroleum, laying pipe lines from
existing ports in the vicinity would bring the capital cost down and make the
project more viable. The same argument goes for IOC refinery expansion in the
Coastal shipping in
India has not taken off despite concessions offered by several ports. They include Exclusive berths for
coastal cargo and priority berthing for coastal cargo. You had raised the issue
at a seminar few months ago about the problems encountered with Customs and
Immigration. I am told immigration authorities have different sets of rules for
different ports. Can you elaborate?
Transportation of Goods within India is done through Road, Rail,
Coastal shipping andby Air. In all of this, Ports (major ports)& Airports
are, expensive pieces of infrastructure, built for purpose and domestic cargo
handling is incidental and no additional capital is spent for same while
building Ports and Airports. Ports thrive on import & export cargo and
Airports on Passenger traffic. However that’s not the same with Roads and Railways.
Road infrastructure is built with 80 per cent weightage for freight
movement and Railways infrastructure is built with a 50 per cent weightage for
freight movement. Therefore the capital spent in Road and Rail for freight
movement (read domestic cargo) is very high, yet that cost is not apportioned
to the cost of carriage of freight. The cost of freight is merely based on the
cost of vehicles that carry the freight. The Capital cost is borne by the
state. In today’s world the cost of accidents, the environmental cost when
freight is moved by Road / Rail are in itself a major disincentive, not to
mention the capital cost which is humongous.
Whereas when domestic cargo is carried on the coast, there is a
minimum of 2 Port interfaces and at both these ends the cost levied include a
part of the capital spent in creating the infrastructure. This is an unfair
practice. Also the domestic cargo operators should be allowed to use own
labour/equipment for cargo handling to bring down cost instead of bracketing
the stevedoring cost with import/export cargo handling.
Most of the Major Ports (well interspersed geographically) has
additional infra and capacity available and can create a “Domestic Corridor”
within the Port. It is possible to use technology to secure the cargo to move
only through that domestic corridor, thereby assuring Customs that there would
be no malpractices. Domestic cargo should move smoothly without any
interferences from Customs, with minimum documentation which could be filled
once on line without any additional requirements. Same applies to Immigration.
Domestic flights within India does not have to seek immigration clearance at
each Airport and same should apply for coastal shipping.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and
Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation
of seven nations of South Asia and South East Asia, housing 1.5 billion people and having a
combined gross domestic product of $ 4 trillion. India should strive to bring the BIMSTEC
member states—Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, and Nepal under coastal shipping to increase the
chances of cargo in both direction (to & fro) to reduce cost.
Since we have no Coastal Ships in any numbers to talk about, the
Government may offer innovative incentives either to the domestic cargo
interest or the coastal ship operators to invest and move cargo by water. This
will be in the interest of nation building.