LCC Looking To Sell Off Strandard Coal
By Dinouk Colombage
The Lanka Coal Company (LCC) has submitted a proposal to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to sell an 86,900 tonne coal shipment to Ceylon Shipping.
The shipment of coal has been stuck in the Indian Ocean for the past one and a half months. The LCC and Ceylon Shipping have been unable to unload the cargo due to poor weather conditions in Puttlam.
LCC chairman, Tissa Herath, explained that they had “tentatively struck up a deal with Ceylon Shipping to purchase the cargo at the same price which was originally paid for by the CEB.”
Herath explained that as the CEB is incurring high losses due to the delay in unloading the cargo they had been forced to look for another option. According to Herath Ceylon Shipping had lined up a buyer who would purchase the shipment and return it to Sri Lanka when requested by the CEB. In return the unnamed buyer has requested the next three contracts to supply coal to the CEB to ensure they cover the costs for this operation.
Herath added that prior to this option Lanka Coal and Ceylon Shipping had explored other alternatives in relation to unloading the cargo. “Due to the bad weather we considered unloading the cargo in Trincomalee. However, to transport the cargo from there to the Puttlam power plant would have been far too costly for the CEB”, he said.
According to Herath it would have cost the CEB US$ 24 (Rs. 3,167) a metric tonne to transport the coal from Trincomalee to Puttlam.
The second option they explored was to unload the cargo at the Hambantota port. However, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) had labelled the shipment as ‘dirty cargo’ and refused their request since a new shipment of cars is expected there and the dust from the coal shipment would have settled on the vehicles.
The Colombo port does not permit the unloading of coal.
Herath added that they were still awaiting a response from the CEB regarding their proposal.
Ceylon Shipping confirmed that this proposal had been submitted, but refused to reveal the name of the company until the CEB had responded.
Dr. Wimaladharma Abeywickrama, Chairman of the CEB, refused to comment on the proposal stating that he had not properly studied it.