Essar Shipping plans to double cargo tonnage to 30 MT by 2019-20: CEO

Essar Shipping Ltd (ESL) is targeting to double cargo tonnage to 30 million tonne (MT) by 2019-20, a company official said.

It had handled 13.06 MT cargo in the previous financial year and registered 28 per cent growth in total cargo tonnage in the third quarter of 2017-18.

"The company is set to increase capacity from 15 MT to 30 MT by 2019-20 with increase in handling tonnage and higher operational efficiency," Essar Shipping Executive Director & CEO Ranjit Singh told PTI.

However, he did not provide investment figures.

Essar Shipping operates a fleet of 13 ships of mostly bulk carriers, comprising one capesize, six mini capesizes, one panamax, two supramaxes, two handymaxes as well as one very large crude carrier. The average age of the company's vessels is 10.5 years.

Its 13-vessel fleet grew capacity utilisation to 94 per cent from 80 per cent in the previous fiscal, the company said.

It said the primary goal and focus for the coming years will be on third party engagement which it aims to increase to 50 per cent by 2020.

The company is weighing up plans to expand and diversify the fleet by acquiring a panamax size bulk carrier, a medium range oil tanker, and a Suezmax carrier.

Moreover, Essar Shipping has four new ships on order which are scheduled for delivery by 2020, it said.

It said increasing the third party tonnage could drive the company's growth, thereby raising third party cargo handling from the current 30 per cent of the total to 50 per cent.

"I am positive about both the dry bulk market and liquid market picking up in the coming years and we will look at investments if the opportunity is right. We will also look at exploring business opportunities in the sub-continental region and leveraging assets for captive and third-party cargo.

"Minimal ballast operations, and business diversification, including an opportunity to work with Ultra LNG Project, are on top of the agenda," Singh said.

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