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Tuesday, Jul 30, 2002

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D.V.S. Raju consortium bags Gangavaram port mandate

V. Rishi Kumar


THE D.V.S. Raju-led consortium which includes Dubai Ports, a Dubai Government enterprise, Malaysian West Port and Singapore Jurong Port, has bagged the mandate to design, develop and operate the Rs 2,000-crore greenfield Gangavaram port slated to come up near Visakhapatnam.

The Chairman and Managing Director of the Hyderabad - based VisualSoft Technologies, Mr D.V.S. Raju, is heading the consortium of companies in his individual capacity as an entrepreneur. Though the letter of intent (LI) has not yet been inked, the Raju consortium is learnt to have pipped the only other bid from Adani Exports Ltd.

Though the Government has not yet officially announced, the D.V.S. Raju-led consortium has bagged the mandate to develop the project, an official announcement is to be made shortly and LI issued, Government sources said.

The proposed port is planned to be a high-tech facility having the capability to handle large vessels up to 2,00,000 to 2,50,000 DWT and super tankers. It will have the capability to churn out about 30,000 to 40,000 million tonnes and serve as a benchmark. As against the traditional port, which employs about 6,000 people, this will require just about 600 workers and will be significantly automated. The Gangavaram port has a natural 20 m deep draft, which will make the port an attractive proposition.

As per the proposal made by the consortium, the port project is planned to be completed by 2005. The developers have indicated that the financial closure will be achieved by mid-2003, Government sources said.

Lately, Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), which has a significant presence in the region, is eyeing the possibility of joining as a strategic partner. It is learnt that it has evinced interest to locate a strategic storage facility for oil. With the modern facility, it will be possible to anchor huge tankers and this will open up new business opportunities, sources said.

According to an internal survey undertaken, there is demand for a modern port as the Vizag hinterland is set to offer new opportunities. The State Government, which is now in the process of picking up a strategic partner for the proposed special economic zone (SEZ) near Vizag, also plans to develop the corridor as an industrial belt. These developments are likely to open up new opportunities.

The new port will bring in better logistics even for the Vizag Steel Plant, which is a major user of the current port. The VSP alone spends about Rs180 crore for haulage. With the Gangavaram port, it will be possible to handle the entire port transportation through simple conveyor belts.

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