NTPC takes river route to ship coal


New Delhi, Oct. 25: NTPC today started transporting imported coal through the Ganga to its Farakka plant in Bengal, the first time a waterway is being used to transport imports of this scarce resource in the country, leading to a huge saving in cost.

The move will help the company save around 20 per cent in transportation cost, besides taking care of the problems arising from port congestion and the non-availability of rail rakes.

For seven years, NTPC will transport 3 million tonnes (mt) of imported coal each year from Haldia to Farakka through the National Waterway-I. The state-owned firm has given a contract to Jindal ITF to unload and transport the coal to the 2,100MW Farakka power plant.

The project involves the transportation of imported coal from Haldia to Farakka through the Ganga.

While a part of the consignment will be used by the Farakka thermal power station, the rest will be transported to NTPC’s 1,340MW facility at Kahalgaon in Bihar using the rail network between Farakka and Kahalgaon.

The country has six inland waterways. The Centre had declared the Allahabad-Haldia stretch of the Ganga (1,620km) as National Waterway-1 in 1986.

The move is expected to help NTPC improve margins in the long run as inland waterways are among the most cost-efficient modes to transport bulk cargo.

“Considering the current constraints of the Indian port sector, this project is bound to bring a paradigm shift in the import of dry bulk cargo. This move will also be an eco-friendly way of transporting coal and will reduce the pressure on the railways,” senior NTPC officials said.

Officials said the company planned to use rivers to transport coal for its upcoming plant at Barh near Patna and Bongaigaon in Assam.

The company will commission the first 660MW unit at Barh this financial year. The entire project will have a capacity of 3,300 MW, and will require 16mt coal per year.

The industry is closely monitoring NTPC’s experience because as many as 10 power plants are located along the Ganga that are operated by the PSU and various state governments.

Courtesy - R. SURYAMURTHY, The Telegraph

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