The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has formed a task force on oxygen supply chain to work with the Central and state governments to augment oxygen supply, its packaging and transport.
“Efforts are on to further increase oxygen supplies from steel plants across the country,” JSW Steel Ltd joint managing director and Group CFO Seshagiri Rao MVS, who is also the chairman of the task force said.
The task force has made some critical propositions to government to use direct vessels to import liquid oxygen, remove logistical bottlenecks, reduce the transit -time, fast unloading of containers, ensure speedy clearances and transport to the destinations through green corridors, augment capacity to produce additional oxygen using supercritical process, among others, he said in a statement.
“The taskforce has also suggested that government could explore G2G [government to government] mechanisms for getting support in the current health emergency with friendly countries,” he said.
Companies such as Tata Group, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), JSW group, Adani group, ITC, and Jindal Steel and Power have come forward to help hospitals treating Covid-19 patients by supplying medical oxygen, cryogenic vessels, portable concentrators and generators, the CII statement said.
“Vedanta, Jubilant Ingrevia Ltd and many others major corporate houses are continuing to explore avenues to help address the shortage of oxygen in the country,” it said.
CII president designate TV Narendran said: “There is a dire need to increase the availability of oxygen and address the logistical issues in transporting oxygen across the country. It is heartening to see that Industry has come forward in such a big way to support the cause and provide solutions in a very short span of time using all possible means.”
The biggest bottleneck is the shortage of cryogenic containers. Tatas are importing 36 cryogenic vessels by this month-end. Tata Steel is also supplying over 600 MT medical oxygen from its plants to hospitals, he added.
JSW Steel is also currently supplying 1,000 tonnes per day and plans to ramp up further, the statement said. The total supply from all its plants across the country viz., Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in April 2021 is expected to be over 20,000 tonnes of liquid oxygen.
RIL is supplying over 700 MT of liquid medical oxygen per day to Gujarat, Maharashtra, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Daman, Diu & Nagar Haveli, it said.
In addition, ITC is airlifting 24 cryogenic containers, of 20 tonne capacity each. It is also exploring imports of a large number of oxygen concentrators as well as generators for distribution. ITC’s paper boards unit in Bhadrachalam has already commenced supply of oxygen to identified government hospitals in the state, it said. Adani group is importing four cryogenic tanks with 80 MT liquid oxygen from Saudi Arabia.
ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India is supplying 220 MT of liquid oxygen per day to Gujarat, it said. Jindal Steel & Power Ltd is supplying 80-100 MT per day to various states and can enhance the capacity to 150 MT per day provided the lifting is increased, it added.