Western Coalfields Set to Double Rail Despatch to Meet Coal Demand

September 2020
Western Coalfields Set to Double Rail Despatch to Meet Coal Demand

Western Coalfields Ltd. (WCL), a subsidiary of the world’s largest coal mining company Coal India Ltd. (CIL), has drawn an ambitious roadmap to almost double its coal despatch capacity through rail mode to meet additional demand of consumers of the power sector. WCL has set ‘Mission 100 Days’ agenda to streamline activities to reach peak despatch of 50 rakes per day from January, 2021 with support from the Indian Railways.

WCL had recently offered additional coal to power consumers in central, western and southern India at cheaper landed price. On discussion with state power generation companies in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, NTPC and independent power producers (IPPs), WCL expects additional coal demand of around 25 million tonnes (MT) per annum from these consumers after getting swapped from other subsidiaries of CIL and Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL).

With expected substantial increase in demand, WCL has taken pro-active steps to gear up additional coal crushing, transporting and loading facility for increasing coal despatch through rail to a level of 50 rakes per day from January 2021. This is under Mission 100 Days programme starting from September 5 to December 15, 2020. This will increase average loading during the year to 40 rakes per day and peak of 50 rakes. The average in 2019-20 was 23 rakes and the peak was 29 rakes per day. The current year average is 19 rakes per day due to a lesser demand for the commodity.

WCL despatches about 90 per cent coal through Central Railway (CR) followed by South East Central Railway (SECR) and South Central Railway (SCR). Out of 50 rakes, 43-44 rakes will be through CR, 4-5 by SECR and 2 by SCR. In a discussion held with CR officials, a detailed roadmap has been drawn to maximise the use of sidings, use of goods shed of the Railways, availability of sufficient rakes and its timely loading.

The company has sensitised all its senior managers to take immediate action to complete the awarding of contracts for the additional crushing and transporting of coal along with weighbridges and maintenance of roads between coal stock and sidings within the next 100 days.

WCL had produced 57.6 MT of coal and despatched 52.5 MT of coal during 2019-20. With a coal stock of over 14 MT in the beginning of 2020-21 and a production target of 62 MT this year, the company will have more than 75MT of coal available for its consumers. WCL has planned to reach 75 MT of production by 2023-24 followed by 100 MT by 2026-27. With existing huge coal stock and increase in production in current fiscal and beyond, a huge jump is required in rake despatch to consumers to meet the country’s exponential increase in energy demand.

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