As many as seven firms have responded to a proposal by the Kochi Port to develop a ship repair facility on a PPP basis within the port . Cochin Shipyard Ltd and the Bahrain-based Sultan Marine International are among the firms that have evinced interest at the Expression of Interest floated by the port for the public-private partnership project.
Encouraged by the response, the port had invited global bids in May in a two cover system for ‘Development and Operation’ of an international ship repair facility with private sector participation.
A senior port official told Business Line that the port will position its existing ship repair facility as a ‘modern ship repair yard’ with additional facilities for ship building. The idea is to develop the existing facility on par with international standards for maintenance, repair and overhaul of small and medium size vessels by ensuring fast turnaround, high quality and excellent service. Shipbuilding will also be permitted here, he said.
The developer will have the option to set up floating dry docks, either in the inner harbour or outer harbour. Besides repair, building of vessels and other marine craft could also be undertaken in the facility.
In addition, the developer can provide and operate ancillary industries and allied facilities such as container repair facility, within the leased premises, with the prior approval of the port management, he said. The ship repair and building facility that will come up on 17 hectares with a waterfront of 850 metres, will be for small and medium-sized vessels on a fast turnaround and high quality basis.
The proximity to rail, road and shipping channels is an added advantage to the project, the official said, adding that the strike-free image of the port since 2009 will benefit the project.
The facilities being envisaged include a new dry dock and a ship lift system with three transfer tracks and three parking bays for simultaneous docking of six vessels to be commissioned in a phased manner.
Figures from the port show that around 1,000 ships call at the port every year . The number will nearly double over the next three years, brightening the prospects for the ship repair facility.
The proposed Free Trade Warehousing Zone coming up in the port area will have the facility of bonded storage for international original equipment manufacturers. This will be a major help to the ship repair facility operator, the official added.