Adani Ports and SEZ (APSEZ), the nation's largest private sector operator of sea ports, has waived charges for ships exclusively carrying COVID-related equipment, and said such vessels will be given priority berthing. Billionaire Gautam Adani's group has also secured about two dozen cryogenic tanks for transporting medical oxygen, from the UAE, Thailand and Saudi Arabia, it said in a series of tweets.
India is faced with the world's largest surge in COVID-19 cases, straining its already stressed healthcare infrastructure. Hospitals have faced oxygen shortage, and the private sector has lent a helping hand to aid the government. Countries from the US to Australia pledged help for India as new infections topped 3 lakh for a sixth day.
"In view of the requirement of oxygen and related equipment (medical grade oxygen, oxygen tanks, oxygen bottles, portable oxygen generators, oxygen concentrators, steel pipes for manufacturing oxygen cylinders, etc.) it has been decided to give priority berthing to vessel carrying Covid-related cargo," APSEZ said on Twitter. Also, the ports operated by the firm "will not charge any storage or handling charges for these types of equipment, Covid-related cargo being handled in any mode of storage." "Additionally, the port will not charge any vessel-related charges for the vessels calling the port exclusively for Covid related equipment," it said.
Stating that evacuation of such cargo will be given utmost priority, APSEZ asked all shipping lines and agencies to make a declaration of the subject cargo while declaring the vessel. These measures, it said, will become applicable with immediate effect and will be valid for a period of 3 months.
Separately, Adani Group said it has "secured 7 more cryogenic tanks" from Thailand. Four of these were airlifted by IAF from Bangkok on Monday. "Cryogenic tanks are tremendously useful now since a lot more life-saving oxygen can be transported in liquid than in gas form," it said. "Thank you @airproducts for arranging to give us these tanks at short notice. Your help means a lot to the people of India." On Monday, Adani Group said it has 12 ready-to-use cryogenic tanks to transport liquid oxygen from Dubai.
"Thank you, Dubai. Thank you @IAF_MCC. We have secured another 12 ready-to-use cryogenic tanks to transport liquid oxygen from Dubai. The Indian Air Force is airlifting 6 of these tanks today to India. Jai Hind!," it had said. This came within days of the group arranging four tanks from Saudi Arabia.
"Thank you @IndianEmbRiyadh. Indeed, actions speak louder than words. We are on an urgent mission to secure oxygen supplies from across the world. This first shipment of 4 ISO cryogenic tanks with 80 tons of liquid oxygen is now on its way from Dammam to Mundra," group chairman Gautam Adani had tweeted on April 24. "We would also like to thank Oman Shipping Line, a part of @AsyadGroup for going above and beyond to help us transport the 4 tank containers. Looking forward to our long-term relationship in battling this crisis and future endeavours," the Adani Group said.