Power equipment major Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd's (BHEL) Tiruchirappalli unit will start exporting its boilers through the newly built private port at Karaikal, a company official said.
The state-run company expects to save on freight and wharf charges by exporting equipment through the Karaikal port, which is closer to the plant than the Chennai port.
'On a conservative estimate, we hope to save Rs.2 per km per tonne of cargo,' a senior BHEL official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
The Karaikal port is 132 km from BHEL's plant in Tiruchirappalli, while Chennai is 350 km away.
The company's first export consignment through the Karaikal port will be the boiler components for two 135-MW Circulating Fluidised Bed Combustion (CFBC) boilers to New Caledonia-based firm Koniambo Nickel.
BHEL will despatch 14,000 tonnes of components for each of the two boilers to New Caledonia, a French colony near Australia.
Further, as the Karaikal port is new, BHEL plans to bargain with the authorities for low wharf charges.
The wharf charge in the Chennai port is 0.22 percent of the cargo value and as the port is congested ships usually have to wait before being berthed.
The main reason for choosing the Karaikal port over Chennai is the clean cargo condition mentioned by its client Koniambo Nickel, the official said.
'The Karaikal port is new and relatively clean.'
According to A.V. Krishnan, executive director of BHEL, the first consignment is around 40 tonnes of steel columns.
Krishnan said the order is a major breakthrough for BHEL in its drive to enter new markets worldwide with its environment-friendly CFBC boilers.