APM Terminals Inland Services, South Asia is helping set up solar power plants in deep pockets of India. The company is providing tailor-made logistics solutions to help overcome transport, technical and procedural challenges.
The company is now offering a new end-to-end solution for major solar projects, which includes receiving cargo at the sea-port, facilitating customs inspection and clearance, multi-modal transportation to reach these isolated areas and destuffing at the site.
“Back in 2015, solar power was just beginning to catch everybody's attention and imports from China were picking up at a tremendous pace. To date, we have handled more than 15 large projects from most of the leading solar players, covering over 10,500 acres of land," said Ajit Venkataraman, MD, APM Terminals Inland Services, South Asia.
"We realised that the solar sector players needed a trusted logistics partner capable of understanding and addressing business complexities. We then developed tailor-made solutions that relieved the customer from hassle, technicalities and legalities."
Previously, the destuffing of solar panels was a delicate and tedious process but special equipment used at APM Terminals means it is now a much easier affair. This gives APM Terminals more control in the supply chain and allows for more reliability and customisation. This has resulted in the company becoming the front runner for large solar developers.
India aims to have 100 GW of solar energy capacity by 2022 and has been working towards achieving this goal in recent years - a challenging task which aims to get four times the current installed solar capacity.
At present, the country imports more than 80% of its solar panels, mostly from China. In order to reduce costs and make deadlines, it is crucial to guarantee that the transportation goes as smoothly as possible, both at sea, and across the hinterlands of India - a journey which is not just long, but also difficult and requiring the right expertise.
"It is about reaching the destination, especially when there are no or bad roads. For instance, one of the recent installation sites is in Rajasthan across the Thar desert," said Venkataraman.
Removing the risk of penalties
All solar projects in India are government tenders, and timely completion is extremely critical. If not delivered in time, it can lead to major penalties. Prior to the new initiative, solar operators had to work on smaller projects and coordinate with multiple stakeholders. It was difficult to find a reliable one-stop solution or contact who could take care of the entire requirement. This requirement is now being addressed.
APM Terminals Inland Services has made solar deliveries across states like Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, other regions in Central India and even over the Thar desert. These deliveries have been taken and solar panels handled from the ports of Chennai, Mundra, Vizag and Krishnapatnam.