Kandla Port has become the country’s first Major Port to handle Capesize vessels, that are capable of carrying 100,000 tonnes, at the outer anchorage of the Port, which has a draught of 16 m, Exim News Service informs.
The feat was achieved by a recently installed 26 cbm grab floating crane at KPT OTB.
The crane is one of the two Liebherr floating cranes imported by Rishi Shipping from Germany. The second floating crane will commence operations in September. With these new additions, Kandla Port is finally ready in all aspects to handle gearless Panamax and Capesize vessels without any restrictions on length of the ship (LOA) and arrival draught. Vessels up to 300 m long and with draught of 16 m can now call at the Port.
M/V Indus was the first vessel to be discharged by the new floating crane as part of trials on June 25. The vessel arrived with 90,133 tonnes of coal on a 14.9-m draught. The first parcel of 55,133 tonnes was discharged at the outer anchorage of Kandla Port while a second parcel of 35,000 tonnes was discharged at the New Mangalore Port. This was the first time a Capesize vessel discharged at two Major Ports.
Earlier, Capesize vessels were being discharged only at three private ports, namely, Mundra, Krishnapatnam and Gangavaram. The Kandla Port is the latest addition to the league of ports capable of handling gearless Capesize vessels.
Mr Vijay Chibber, Special Secretary and Financial Advisor to the government of India, Ministry of Shipping, and Dr U. S. Awasthi, Managing Director of IFFCO, will dedicate the floating crane to Kandla Port and to the nation on Friday (May 27).
It was Dr P. D. Vaghela, the dynamic Chairman of Kandla Port Trust (KPT), who initiated the move to deploy floating cranes at the Port with a vision to handle gearless Panamax and Capesize vessels. Volumes at the Port are expected to surge through a combination of floating cranes, barges and barge jetties at Tuna, Bunder Basin and the IFFCO Jetty.
The Chairman has also actively encouraged coastal movement between Kandla and captive barge jetties of cement companies. Barges of 3,000-ton dead weight, registered under the River Sea Act, will be commissioned to regularly transport imported coal from Kandla to Jakhau/Koteshwar and return with cement and clinker. These companies are expected to produce 30 million tonnes of clinker and cement annually, and dealing with such volumes will be extremely challenging for the trade and Kandla Port alike. The positioning of these cranes at Kandla OTB will complement and encourage coastal movement of coal, making Kandla a hub for the commodity, highlighted a KPT release.
Mr B. K. Mansukhani of Rishi Shipping said that bigger vessels meant reduced freight, and added that freight also depended on the turnaround time of a vessel. Supramax vessels of 50,000 DWT were now discharging after berthing at Kandla Port in just 24-48 hours, he highlighted, with the Port achieving faster turnaround times in the process.
Use of the floating cranes would enable Kandla Port to handle bigger vessels, substantially reducing freight and saving foreign exchange for the country.