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Sical Logistics seeks thermal coal as alternative cargo

29 Oct 2013




Sical Logistics continues to explore opportunity to handle thermal coal at Ennore port as an alternative cargo for its iron ore terminal lying idle for nearly two years due to a ban on export of the ore.

The company has invested Rs 475 crore on the terminal and spends Rs 4 crore a month to service the principal, interest and other expenses, the company said.

Sical, a part of the Bangalore-based Coffee Day, hopes to make the investment productive by handling coal for Tamil Nadu Electricity Board. It has obtained necessary approvals of the Ennore port. The final approval for conversion is pending from the Shipping Ministry . “We continue to work with the ministry to make it happen,” the company said.

Sical, which originally belonged to the Chennai-based M.A. Chidambaram Group, was also awarded the project to develop a mechanised iron ore handling at the deep draft berth No 14 of the New Mangalore port on a build, own and transfer basis. It is facing a similar situation there due to the ban.

The company has not invested much of its resources at the facility there. To complete the project, the company has approached the port authorities seeking permission to handle multiple cargoes.

An official of Ennore Port Ltd said since a competing facility operated by the Chettinad group is handling coal at the port, it is not possible for Sical to handle the same cargo. However, it is up to the Shipping ministry to take the final call.

Sical Iron Ore Terminals Ltd, a special purpose vehicle to manage the project, developed a six million tonnes terminal at the country's first corporatised port. The terminal, for which the company has signed an agreement with Ennore Port in July 2006, was developed on a build-operate-transfer, revenue-sharing contract with Ennore Port for 30 years, including the construction period.

Source: The Hindu Business Line