COCHIN : Cochin Port’s efforts to become a cement hub have received a fillip with the Gujarat-based Sanghi Cements showing interest in setting up a floating cement terminal as part of expanding its coastal movements to South Indian markets.
The floating terminal is a ship with a bagging plant on board. It will have facilities to mix the raw material in the vessel itself and to take powdered cement in bags after the process. The current model of cement production is to bring clinker to ports and mix it in shore-based plants.
Floating terminal will save the costs of setting up shore-based facilities.
A team from Sanghi Cements will soon arrive in Kochi to firm up plans on the project that will ensure an additional three lakh tonnes volumes in the total cement throughput of Kochi Port. The port is in a position to provide berthing facility for the project, as its cargo handling capacity now stands at
25.01 MTPA against the rated berth capacity of 74.6 MTPA, AV Ramana, Deputy Chairman of the port said.
“Once the project becomes operational, Kochi Port will be the first Major Port in the Country to have a floating cement terminal,” he said, adding that Sanghi Cements has similar facilities in the Minor Ports of Kutch and Navlakhi in Gujarat and Dharamtar in Maharashtra.
The port, he said, is also in the process of commissioning more automated cement bagging units. Apart from the three units operated by Ambuja, Ultra-Tech and Zuari Cements, two more companies are setting up bagging units — Penna by November this year and Malabar Cements by March 2019. The capacity of five terminals could be about 3.0 MTPA.
The port also intends to promote coastal movement of steel, which is expected to generate imports of about 0.50 MTPA by 2022. “We are planning to rope in Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd for bringing steel materials from Vizag to Kochi for catering to Kerala, Western Tamil Nadu and South Karnataka markets,” said Goutam Gupta, Traffic Manager.
Beginning October, the port is expecting 4,000 tonnes of cargo a month.
Meanwhile, two leading tyre manufacturing companies have firmed up plans to move natural rubber consignment from Kerala through Coastal Shipping to meet their production requirements.