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"Indian Ports need upgrade," says oil major

Mumbai: A leading Indian oil company has called for domestic ports to upgrade their facilities, particularly draft levels, to cope with rising volumes of crude oil and petroleum products. A.B. Sathe, executive director for Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), told a local conference that many Indian ports, incuding Mumbai, have inadequate drafts for crude tankers and also need "to provide land for tankerage at concessional rates and reduce the cost of operations." Most oil companies currently have to lighter their cargoes ashore, he added, which greatly increases costs. Several key ports, including Jawaharlal Nehru Port, currently have expansion programmes underway to allow bigger vessels to dock, and development projects at minor ports should also ease congestion.  [10/11/06]

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