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Concor, Ircon may bid for overseas projects

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Mamuni Das

New Delhi, Jan. 24

CONTAINER Corporation of India (Concor) and Ircon, the construction arm of the Indian Railways, are likely to bid for constructing and operating rail lines and container depots in Jordan, Nigeria, Mozambique and Saudi Arabia.

Both the organisations are public sector units under the Ministry of Railways.

"There are upcoming opportunities with more and more ports being set up in Africa. All of them need port-related infrastructure such as rail connectivity, setting up of container depots and players to build and manage the infrastructure," said Mr Rakesh Mehrotra, Managing Director, Concor. Ircon has undertaken several railway construction projects overseas.

"There are projects which we are considering in countries such as Jordan, Mozambique, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia where we may bid with Ircon," he said. The two PSUs would have to apply for these projects through the international bidding process. The organisations are also open to similar projects within the country.

To serve Pipavav port

: Concor said it was working out details to set up an inland container depot (ICD) or a container freight station (CFS) along with Pipavav Rail Corporation Ltd (PRCL) to serve the Pipavav port, situated in the western coast of the country.

"We are planning to jointly set up an ICD or CFS to serve Pipavav port," said Mr Mehrotra.

PRCL is a 50:50 joint venture between the Indian Railways and Gujarat Pipavav Port Ltd that was set up to construct, maintain and operate the 270-km-long broad gauge railway line connecting the Pipavav port in Gujarat to Surendranagar Junction on the Western Railway.

On why Concor is considering this option when PRCL is likely to emerge as a competitor to Concor by entering the container operations segment, he said,

"They are our collaborators and the idea is to ensure that duplication of infrastructure does not happen."

Mr Mehrotra also said Concor was open to the possibility of letting other players who are eyeing the container operations segment.

He insists that the prospective entrants in this sector with whom Concor has had tie-ups such as PRCL and Central Warehouse Corporation are "collaborators and not competitors".

"The idea is to synergise operations and develop a win-win situation for both organisations," said Mr Mehrotra.

However, on whether he would let other entrants use Concor's inland container depots, he said that it was unlikely unless the player is talking about long-term tie-ups like five-ten-year period.

Concor has also tied up with Japanese shipping major NYK Line for serving the auto sector. The details of the project are being worked out.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 25, 2006)
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