Ultratech uses inland and coastal shipping for sustainable transport

In a unique initiative in India, inland and coastal waterways have been used by UltraTech Cement Limited, the flagship cement company of the Aditya Birla Group (ABG), to transport phosphogypsum shipments.

The shipment of 57,000 tonnes (MT) of phosphogypsum was transported in a bulk carrier from Paradeep Port in Odisha and arrived at the jetty of UltraTech Cement’s integrated cement unit, Gujarat Cement Works (GCW) at Kovaya in Amreli district of Gujarat on April 26th, 2023.

UltraTech, India’s largest cement and ready-mixed concrete (RMC) company, has institutionalized ABG’s sustainability framework to drive sustainability across the value chain of its operations. Circular economy is one of the key sustainability focus areas for UltraTech.

KC Jhanwar, Managing Director, UltraTech Cement Limited, said: “The cement industry plays a pivotal role in driving the circular economy in India through the use of industrial and municipal waste in cement manufacture. UltraTech’s industry-first initiative to use inland and coastal waterways to transport phosphogypsum will help further strengthen the role of the cement sector in promoting the circular economy in India.”

UltraTech sourced the phosphogypsum from Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) and Paradeep Phosphates Limited (PPL). Phosphogypsum is a by-product of phosphate fertilizer crops.

The cement industry is at the heart of the circular economy in India. The use of large amounts of industrial and municipal waste in cement production helps significantly reduce landfill pressure and potential greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from traditional waste disposal methods such as incineration.

The stock of phosphogypsum in India is estimated at around 70 million tonnes (MMT). Considering that the total cement production in India was 23 400 MMT in the fiscal year, the cement industry has the potential to use around 16 MMT of phosphogypsum annually.

UltraTech’s pioneering initiative to transport phosphogypsum via inland and coastal waterways has demonstrated the use of a “multimodal supply chain” as a cost-effective and safe transportation option for other cement companies to emulate. Using the fertilizer industry’s by-product phosphogypsum instead of mineral gypsum as an alternative material in cement production will help reduce the country’s dependence on mineral gypsum mining. This also saves valuable foreign exchange for India as mineral gypsum is mainly imported. UltraTech will continue to use inland and coastal waterways to transport phosphogypsum from Paradeep based on production needs at its Gujarat Cement Works facility.

The reuse of phosphogypsum, otherwise discarded as industrial waste, has been identified as a key element of the circular economy vision proclaimed by the Indian government. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) focuses on reusing gypsum to promote the circular economy in India.

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