Southern Railway transports pet coke from MRPL for the first time.
The Southern Railway and Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL) heralded a new initiative when railway wagons lifted about 3,500 tonnes of pet coke from MRPL and transported it to Wadi in Kalaburgi district on Saturday.
A rake of 59 wagons, each with a capacity of 66 tonnes, replaced nearly 190 trucks that otherwise would have transported the coke from Mangaluru to Wadi by road.
“This is for the first time that the Southern Railway has transported pet coke from MRPL with the support of New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT),” said Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, Palakkad, P.A. Dhananjayan. He told The Hindu that the Railways earned Rs. 65 lakh for one rake, which NMPT offered to load the pet coke into the wagons.
“This is a win-win situation for the Railways, MRPL and the customer [ACC Cements, Wadi],” said a senior MRPL official. While the Railways earned income, MRPL was content that the initiative replaced that many trucks from the roads while the customer got the product transported at rates cheaper to road transport, he told The Hindu .
As of now, MRPL has two more confirmed orders from ACC Cements for transportation of pet coke by train. The initiative should become a success given the inherent advantages it has, the official said. MRPL had to take the product by road from its plant to the NMPT Railway siding.
Freight rates hiked
MRPL’s tilt towards Railways could also be read as a message to road transporters too, who reportedly hiked the freight rates by over 15 per cent after the company started pet coke production, the official said. On an average, 180 trucks used to leave MRPL premises every day carrying pet coke to different customers. Another senior MRPL official said pet coke, with almost double the heat value of conventional coal, can be used as an alternative to conventional coal. However, with its higher sulphur content, 4 to 6 per cent, using pet coke as fuel will require a suitable design to conform to emission standards. There will be no ash coming out of pet coke burning.
At the same time, pet coke is mainly used as a reducing agent in cement production, thus benefitting cement plants across the country.
What is pet coke?
It is a byproduct of refining crude oil. It has almost double the heat value of conventional coal; it is also used as a raw material in cement production.
Cheaper than by road
MRPL produces about 0.8 to 1 million tonnes of pet coke every year
Earlier pet coke was being transported to cement plants only by road; about 170 truck loads every day
For the first time, MRPL loaded about 3,500 tonnes of pet coke on a railway rake meant for ACC Cements, Wadi
This replaced about 190 trucks from roads; eliminated spillage of pet coke on roads and air pollution
Southern Railway, which transported the pet coke, earned Rs. 65 lakh per rake