Chennai port looks to handle met coke to boost cargo traffic

CPT-1Metallurgical and petroleum coke will be handled by Chennai Port Trust (CPT), to make up for the loss of dusty cargo like coal and iron ore. The new cargo will be handled on a trial basis for six months, according to the port officials.

Pollution peril 

Met coke being lumpy – unlike coal and iron ore,  does not generate so much dust. However, the port will handle the cargo with stringent environment measures. The Tamil Nadu Pollution Board has been informed about this, and technical and legal opinion has been sought on handling of the cargo, sources said.

The port handled different types of coal since 1990 with the peak volume of 9.85 million tonne (MT) in 2008-09 for various thermal power stations in the hinterland. However, the Kamarajar port (formerly Ennore port) and Krishnapatnam ports started handling more coal traffic than Chennai.

Due to the high pollution level, the Madras High Court in May 2011 ordered that coal, iron and other dusty cargo should be shifted from Chennai to Kamarajar port. After the handling of coal and iron ore was discontinued, cargo traffic at the port has been reducing every year. The port handled 51.10 MT in 2013-14 as against 61.46 MT in 2010-11. It incurred a loss of ₹173 crore during the last financial year.

Hubert Enviro Care Systems in its report on the implications of handling met coke said that the cargo, which is a by-product of coal, becomes denser and harder with the size of the coal ranging from 18 grams to 115 grams. The cargo being heavy will not break down and generate dust during handling, sources said.

The coal/coke handling capacity of the common berth operated under a private-public-partnership mode at Kamarajar port has almost reached the rated capacity of 8 MT and may not be in a position to handle the additional volume of cargo. This provides a good opportunity for Chennai port to tap the business, sources said.

The new cargo will be handled on a trial basis for six months

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