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ALBA Asia to open coal terminal at VO Chidambaranar port

ALBA Asia Pvt Ltd, an equal joint venture between Mumbai-listed Starlog Enterprises and French shipping firm Louis Dreyfus Armateurs S.A., will open a new coal terminal at VO Chidambaranar Port Trust (VOCPT) in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district on Friday.

The 10-million-tonne (mt) terminal will help the Central Government-owned port raise its coal handling capacity to 24 mt by 2019.

In 2010, ALBA Asia Pvt Ltd won the contract in a public tender to build and operate a coal-loading facility at VOCPT for 30 years by placing the highest revenue share price bid of 52.17 per cent.

Tuticorin Coal Terminal Pvt Ltd (TCTPL), the special purpose vehicle (SPV) set up to implement the project, invested Rs. 640 crore to construct the facility. The total project cost overshot the original estimates of Rs. 465 crore mainly due to a two-year delay in dredging the berth by VOCPT to accommodate Panamax-size ships at the facility, a spokesman for TCTPL said.

Bank loan

A consortium of seven banks led by state-run Bank of India had lent Rs. 260 crore to build the terminal, he added.

VOCPT is one of India’s top coal-handling ports, thanks to the presence of several power stations in the vicinity that use imported thermal coal to run their plants.

VOCPT handled 10.824 mt of thermal coal in FY17. Between April and November 2017, it handled 5.717 mt of thermal coal. On Friday, a fully-loaded Panamax ship will dock at TCTPL to unload thermal coal for Mutiara thermal power plant, a 1,200 MW imported coal-based power station run by Coastal Energen Pvt Ltd.

The power plant requires 5-5.5 mt of coal a year to produce power and the coal terminal operator and the power producer are discussing a long-term deal to import coal through TCTPL.

TCTPL was awarded the project on the tariff setting norms finalised by the Shipping Ministry in 2008.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

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