Albeit India is blessed with one of the longest coastlines stretching 7,517 km and studded with 13 major ports and 200 non-major ports, coastal shipping holds no fascination to this trade despite all the praises being heaped on the benefits of water transport and the environment friendliness facet. But moving over-dimensional cargo (ODC) and project cargo there is no other better alternative than transporting it by the coast.
The Indian coastal waters offer a good option for heavy lift transportation
In fact LIFT & SHIFT India, the specialist in providing technology driven engineered qualified solutions for transporting super ODC & heavy industrial equipment did just that. It moved five gigantic monstrosities along the coast for Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation’s (GSPC) gas project in Kakinada on the East coast of India from Hazira on the West coast. The last of the five ODCs is now on the way to its destination scheduled to reach the Kakinada in a few days.
These offshore modules have been manufactured by the technical, engineering and construction giant, Larsen & Turbo, at its Hazira works, in Gujarat. They are to be deployed by GSPC at the Krishna-Godavari basin (the “KG basin”) located off the east coast where significant deep sea gas reserves exists and which they are currently developing for commercial production.
The consignment consists of a 23.50 meter high South Deck module weighing 4,232 metric tons; a 20-meter TGBM module of 2,312 metric tons weight; a North Deck of 2,425 tons having a height of 23.5 meters; a Deck Supporting Frame of 6.4 meters weighing 730 tons and 23-meter CRBM Living Quarters module weighing 3,380 metric tons.
“These 5 cargo units were transported from the MFF area of L & T at Hazira to the barge jetty and then rolled onto the barge. The whole operation involved detailed planning for the past 2 years with client’s design and manufacturing teams and marine calculations for ensuring an event free safe loadout onto the floating barge,” explained Sanjay Valia, Executive Director, of LIFT & SHIFT. “All the five units were barged all along the west coast, southwards via Sri Lanka to Kakinada on the East Coast of India. They will be installed at the offshore site by the use of special super heavy offshore floating cranes, specially mobilized from overseas for this purpose by the company.”
Coastal shipping in India has never received its due share of patronage from the government. Companies choosing this form of transport continue to face harsh and impartial taxes like no exemption from income tax, customs duty on bunkers, landing fees, etc. All goods are subjected to customs procedures and formalities even though they are not imported. The shipment process is extremely slow and laborious compared to other modes of transport. Even ports do not give any preferential treatment to coastal cargo and most ports do not provide any dedicated berths for coastal vessels.
Most heavy lift & project solution providers are increasingly using water transport to move heavy cargo since the road and highway infrastructure in India is very poor. They are forced to make several bypasses for transporting by road as the bridges cannot take the load. Besides, an alarming amount of time is wasted by operators having to seek permissions from the concerned authorities including the Public Works Department, National Highways Authority, Road Traffic Dept, the Road Transport Officer, Forest Department, Environment Department, and railways. Since most bridges across the country are not strong enough to take the weight, transporters have to be innovative to circumvent such hurdles.