The Shipping Ministry – which has been able to award only one out of the 23 targeted port development projects till date this fiscal - could soon award some capacity expansion projects for major ports.

This follows a recent decision taken by an inter-Ministerial committee, headed by the Cabinet Secretary. The committee has given security clearance for some projects in ports of Kolkata, Mormugao and Kandla. For the remaining, the committee is slated to take decisions in next couple of days.

Clearance decision

The committee has decided on clearance regarding bidders of four port projects, with an estimated project cost of Rs 2,336 crore. “Additionally, the clearance for bidders to deepen the Mumbai harbour channel leading to the JN port has also come through,” a source told Business Line. However, in some of the projects, only limited bidders have received the security nod.

For instance, to develop four million tonnes mechanised coal import terminal at Mormugao Port (Rs 425 crore), ten out of the 13 bidders have received the nod.

Then there are two projects of Kandla Port – developing dry bulk terminal and setting up of single-point mooring and allied facilities – for which, a single bidder situation is likely to emerge after the security clearance.

“For each of these projects, there were two bidders, and only one bidder has been accorded a security nod,” a top official said.

bidding process

The bidding process for about 12 port development projects were not moving forward due to pending security clearances. According to Government rules, all bidders looking to operate parts of Indian ports can take up projects only after they get a security clearance from an inter-Ministerial committee.

The decision will impact companies such as GVK, Mundra Port SEZ, Gangavaram, Essar and Navayuga, that have submitted bids for various projects.

The projects, on which a call is likely to be taken soon, include two projects each at ports of Visakhapatnam and Tuticorin. At Visakhapatnam, the projects are installation of mechanised handling facilities for fertilisers at EQ7 and development of WQ7 for handling import dry bulk cargo.

At Tuticorin, the projects are converting berth 8 as container terminal, and developing NCB III for handling thermal coal and copper concentrate.

The committee comprises representatives from the Ministry of External Affair, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Shipping, and the RAW, amongst others.

mamuni@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 14, 2011)
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