Calcutta, Dec. 20: Coal India Ltd (CIL) and Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) today signed a memorandum of understanding to float a joint venture firm to provide logistic services for coal import.
CIL plans to import 50 per cent of the deficit between demand for coal in the country and supply, chairman Partha S. Bhattacharyya said.
According to SCI chairman S.C. Hazara, logistics, which accounts for more than 10 per cent of the countrys gross domestic product, is becoming more important, particularly for transporting coal.
He said a consultant would be appointed to undertake a feasibility study. The process of appointing the consultant is underway and it is expected to take four to five months to submit its report, a senior SCI official said.
The joint venture will be formed within a year based on the report.
The initial equity capital will also be decided depending on the feasibility report, he said.
In 2007-08, the country imported 49 million tonnes (mt) of coal. It was 59mt in 2008-09 and 67mt in 2009-10. In this fiscal, import is expected to be more than 80mt and it has been estimated that by 2014-15, the country will import 200mt coal, Bhattacharyya said.
According to him, CIL has put a lot of thrust on imports through strategic long-term arrangements both with and without equity participation in overseas coal blocks. The company will also acquire overseas blocks.