UltraTech pioneered coastal waterway transportation to address the environmental challenges of phosphogypsum quantities
In a unique initiative in India, Aditya Birla Group’s (ABG) cement flagship company UltraTech Cement Ltd has leveraged inland and coastal waterways to transport phosphogypsum consignments.
A consignment of 57,000 metric tonnes (MT) of phosphogypsum was shipped from Paradip port in Odisha in a bulk cargo carrier and arrived at the jetty of Gujarat Cement Works (GCW), UltraTech Cement’s integrated cement unit located at Kovaya, Amreli district, Gujarat, on 25th April, 2023.
Ultratech, India’s largest cement and ready-mix concrete (RMC) company, has institutionalized ABG’s sustainability framework in an effort to bring sustainability across the value chain of its operations. One of the main focus areas of sustainability for Ultratech is the circular economy.
Shri KC Jhanwar, Managing Director, Ultratech Cement Limited said, “The cement industry plays an important role in driving the circular economy in India by utilizing industrial and municipal waste in cement production. This industry-first initiative by UltraTech to use inland and coastal waterways to transport phosphogypsum will help strengthen the role of the cement sector in driving the circular economy in India.”
Ultratech procures phosphogypsum from Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited (IFCO), and Paradeep Phosphates Limited (PPL). Phosphogypsum is a by-product of phosphatic fertilizer plants.
Strengthening the circular economy
The cement industry is central to the circular economy framework in India. The use of large quantities of industrial waste and municipal waste in cement production helps to significantly reduce the burden on landfills and reduce potential greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from traditional waste disposal methods such as incineration.
The legacy stock of phosphogypsum in India is estimated to be around 70 million metric tonnes (MMT). Given that the total cement production in India is 400 MMT during FY 2023, the cement industry has the potential to use about 16 MMT of phosphogypsum annually.
This pioneering initiative by UltraTech to transport phosphogypsum through inland and coastal waterways has demonstrated the use of ‘multimodal supply chain’ as a cheaper and safer transport option for other cement companies to follow.
The use of phosphogypsum, a by-product of the fertilizer industry, in place of the mineral gypsum will contribute to reducing the country’s dependence on mineral gypsum mining as well as saving valuable foreign exchange for India, as the mineral gypsum is mainly imported. Ultratech will continue to utilize inland and coastal waterways to transport phosphogypsum from Paradip depending on production requirements at its Gujarat Cement Works factory.
The reuse of phosphogypsum, which is normally disposed of as industrial waste, is recognized as a key part of the circular economy announced by the Government of India. Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) focuses on recycling of gypsum to promote circular economy in India.