A substantial component of the so called indirect CO2 footprint of cement is contributed by the energy consumed in incoming and outgoing transportation needs of the industry.
Talking about the green initiatives that the cement manufacturers can initiate, one cannot avoid talking about logistics of cement, which, broadly speaking, means transportation of both incoming raw materials and outgoing cement. A substantial component of the so called indirect CO2 footprint of cement is contributed by the energy consumed in incoming and outgoing transportation needs of the industry. So, it is indeed “big news”, if we hear about an event which signals making a dent in the transportation cost of cement.
One such piece of news came to us as 2017 faded out. It was reported that the first movement of cement cargo via National Waterway (NW) 2 on the Brahmaputra in Assam was flagged off by Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Shipping and River Development. Two barges of 200 tonnes capacity each would carry 400 tonnes of cement from the Inland Waterways Authority of India’s Pandu Port to Dhubri over a distance of 255 km. Transportation of goods through NW 2 from Pandu to Dhubri will help save 150,000-tonne km of road transportation effort per trip, and 300 km of road travel leading to reduced logistics costs. And reduced CO2 emissions, goes without saying !
The same quantum of energy can move more cargo on water than on road or rail. According to the government’s release, one Horsepower can move 150 kg on road, 500 kg on rail, and, hold your breath.., a stupendous 4,000 kg on water. Further, while one litre of fuel can move 24 tonnes of cargo per km on road and 85 tonnes per km on rail, it can move 105 tonne per km on water. Isn’t that sweet music, both to the ears of environmentalists and cement manufacturers? In this context, we are justifiably proud to reproduce here, a very relevant interview published in these columns in November 2017, on the potential of inland water transportation in India, with particular reference to the cement industry.