Price hike fails to affect iron ore transport

June 10, 2008

June 10th (The Statesman) – The unprecedented hike in the price of diesel will have little impact on the transportation of iron ore from mineral rich Orissa’s Keonjhar district to the port town of Paradeep. At best it will only marginally cut down the huge profit margin of transporters and hence they will be least affected.

Stocking of iron ore in the harbour for export by cargo from Paradeep port in Jagaisinghpur district is largely dependant on road transport. As many as 4000 trucks carry iron ore from different iron ore mines in Joda, Barbil, Deojhar, Bansapani, Tensa, Koida, Jurudi, OMDC, Thakurani, Bolani and other mines in the Keonjhar district to Paradeep port every day. These iron ore laden trucks ply on National Highway No. 215, 5 and 5 (A) everyday to reach the destination.

Sheikh Sahazahan of Chandikhole who owns five trucks and engages them all in iron ore transportation trade from Keonjhar to Paradeep port said nothing would hit transportation of iron ore in the aftermath of the diesel price hike. “To move a truck laden with iron ore for about 310-315 km, it costs nearly Rs 30,000, while a similar truckload of other goods travelling the same distance will cost Rs 14,000 only.

On an average, each trip costs Rs 7,000 inclusive of various heads like fuel, lubricants, food for the driver and helper, loading and unloading of the materials, weighing fee and the owners’s income is something around Rs 23,000 in this business,” he added further. Jaraka Truck Owners Association (JTOA) general secretary Sheikh Zuman said, “With the hike in diesel price, each trip of iron ore from Keonjhar mineral sector to Paradeep port is likely to be costlier by a roughly Rs. 450 to Rs 500. It will have no impact on our iron ore transport business.” He said the freight charge for iron ore transportation trucks from Joda to Paradeep costs Rs. 2950 per tonne, while the same distance travelled from Cuttack to Raipur in Chhatisgarh, costs Rs. 1200 per tonne at the old diesel price. The truck fare from Cuttack to Hyderabad (600 km), comes to around Rs 1300-1400 per tonne.

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