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Tuesday, Sep 21, 2004

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Development of international box terminal — Dubai Port Intl gets LI from Kochi port

V. Sajeev Kumar

Kochi , Sept. 20

THE Kochi Port has issued letter of intent (LI) to Dubai Port International (DPI) for the development of an international container transhipment terminal at Kochi on BOT basis.

As per the provisions in the BOT contract, the successful bidder is required to accept the LI and return it to the port within four weeks and the licence agreement should be executed within 10 weeks. Accordingly, DPI is supposed to accept the LI latest by October 13.

The licence agreement is to be executed before November 24.

As per the bid conditions, the existing Rajiv Gandhi Container Terminal (RGCT) has to be handed over to DPI for operations until the international terminal is commissioned and operations are completely shifted there. This also required for enabling the DPI for building up the threshold volume of traffic of 4 lakh TEUs per annum at RGCT before shifting to the new terminal for making the investment viable.

During the operations of RGCT, DPI has to take over the employees of the port currently engaged at RGCT.

The port will be holding discussions with the labour unions for enabling the smooth transfer of the existing employees, the port Chairman, Dr Jacob Thomas, said.

The international container transhipment terminal at Vallarpadam is proposed to be developed as a load centre to cater for large size container vessels of 8,000+ TEU capacity.

These developments will not have any significant adverse effect in the functioning of nearby ports, he said.

Meanwhile, the port has obtained the final approval from the Centre to the port based SEZ, first of its kind in the country, covering all the projects envisaged in the Integrated Development Plan of Kochi. One of the important pre-requisites for setting up international terminal at an early date is the declaration of the area as SEZ. As the port had achieved it in the initial stage itself, it had fulfilled one of the important obligations towards the development of international terminal , the Deputy Chairman, Mr A. Janardhana Rao, said.

"We are focussing on other aspects like NH connectivity, rail connectivity and dredging etc to make these infrastructural facilities also in place much ahead of schedule," he added.

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