A shortage of domestic coal is forcing India's power and steel companies to import large quantities of this from abroad, which has had the effect of producing severe over-crowding at the port of Paradip. At the moment, many generating stations have stocks of less than one week and the government is worried that this may result in power blackouts, prompting the Power and Coal Minister to urge importers to help boost stocks.
However, Paradip has warned that it is now operating at full capacity and cannot handle yet more imports. In the meantime, around 26 vessels are having to wait at anchor, with unloading once berthed taking an additional six days.
In August, consignments rose by 12% compared to August 2013, with imports at Paradip up 16% in the same period.
India is now facing a real crisis in the supply of coal, following a ruling by the Supreme Court that the established means of allocating coal mining concessions was both illegal and arbitrary, which could negatively impact on 218 concessions awarded since 1993 if a decision is go-ahead to withdraw these.