Kendrapara, Sep 3:
Rains have led to slowdown in export of iron ores from Paradip port, sources said today.
With ores reaching the port stockyard rich in moisture content, shipping companies are shying away from transporting it from safety viewpoint. The vessels carrying bulk cargo with moisture contents are destined to get capsized.
A Mongolian ship had sunk off Paradip coast on September 8, 2009, possibly due to the same reason. As a result, ships waiting in berths for voyage are lying stranded for more than a week in the port.
As per international maritime organisation (IMO) guidelines, maximum moisture limit in iron ores is 10 per cent of the total weight. However the iron ores being transported to the port from mineral rich hinterland of the state are found wet with heavy moisture contents.
“As per the maritime guidelines and standardised procedures, ores reaching us are not meeting with Transportation Moisture Limit (TML). The ores are getting wet and soaked. The ship owners and exporters have been directed not to undertake the voyage which may prove hazardous due to load of wet cargo,” said Gouri Prasad Biswal, Deputy Conservator, Paradip Port Trust (PPT).
“International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargo Code bars the ship from carrying cargo with moisture contents. We are sticking to the code in letter and spirit,” said a port official.
A ship remained stranded for over ten days recently as the bulk cargo which it was to carry to China was found wet.
At present the sizable quantity of the iron ores dispatched to the port sea-route export is ridden with moisture. It is resulting in delayed export operation, added the official.
Iron ore traffic has registered an impressive 112.48 per cent growth in Paradip port in recent months despite mining restriction by the Odisha government.
The situation has got better in recent times as directorate of mines of state government has accorded clearance to some of the iron ore mines owners. The trade that is going on presently is based on old export orders.
Earlier there was acute scarcity of iron ore cargo plots in the port within its operational areas. The permits of 59 such plots had been cancelled during August 2012. Things have brightened up now as port has created ample space for iron ores handling.
15 new cargo plots measuring 4,500 square metres have been brought up exclusively for iron ores traffic.
The plot owners who were leased out the patch for 11-month period through tender bidding have steadfastly begun trading leading to the traffic growth, said Kishore Kumar Sahu, Traffic Manager, PPT.
Demand of iron ore has gone up in international market. But the port is not in a position to handle more than 1,000 truckloads of iron ores everyday for export. It is because of shortage of cargo plots for stockpiling, added a PPT official.(PTI)