For the first time, the country’s largest power producer, NTPC, has tied up with Inland Waterways Authority of India to ensure smooth transportation of coal, besides deciding to import coal directly.
The move was prompted by recurrent congestions on the railways network delaying coal supply to NTPC power plants. The company has often faced problems with acute shortage of coal stocks due to the delays.NTPC now plans to use waterways as an alternative route for coal supply to projects that are along the national waterways No1. Till now, the Railways have been the dominant mode for transport of coal. “We have already tied up with IWAI to transport coal for the Farraka and Khelgaon projects where there is a congestion on the railways network. This will also be an eco friendly way of transporting coal and will reduce the burden on the railways,” NTPC Chairman and Managing Director Arup Roychoudhury told Business Standard.
Coal meets 80 per cent of the company’s fuel requirement. IWAI, on behalf of NTPC, has floated Requests for Proposal (RFP) for transporting three million tonnes of imported coal annually to NTPC’s power plant at Farakka, West Bengal, for a period of seven years. The company which will be selected will to have to develop logistics and the requisite infrastructure. The shipment of coal through the waterways is expected to be start in 2012.
Coal for three projects — Farakka, Kahalgaon and Barh — will be transported through the waterways. The Farakka project has a capacity of 1,600 Mw for the first phase and 2,100 Mw for the second phase. The Kahalgaon power plant in Bihar has a capacity of 2,340 Mw. The proposed Barh project in Bihar will have a capacity of 2,980 Mw.
The Farakka and Kahalgaon projects have been facing coal shortage for more than a year. “The innovative approach of use of alternate mode of transportation and utilisation of big vessels in mid-sea near Haldia port will open up more opportunity. With plants such as Farakka, Kahalgaon and Barh situated near the Hoogly and the Ganga, coal supply can be augmented through use of waterways,” a company executive said.
Though the RFP has been called for the Farakka plant, the infrastructure and logistics will also be used for other plants near the river. The total transport of coal may be increased to eight million tonnes through inland waterways at a later stage, said an official close to the development.
In 2011-2012, NTPC plans to import 16 million tonnes of coal. Out of this, 12 mt have already been arranged by STC and the rest will be imported directly. The company will float a tender by the March-end to import four million tonnes of coal. NTPC had been importing coal through state-run firms MMTC and STC.
To reduce hurdles while transportation of coal through railways, the company has initiated online monitoring of the movement of coal rakes. The power firm will add 5,500 Mw of capacity in the next financial year and has a target of 75,000Mw by March 2017 from the existing 33,000 Mw. Its coal requirement is expected to increase substantially from the present level of 160 mt.