The invitation is open to experienced domestic as well as international private sector ocean-going ship builders or ship repair yards.

V. Sajeev Kumar

Kochi, Oct. 6

THE Cochin Port Trust (CoPT) has invited expressions of interest (EoI) from investors to set up a ship repair facility of international standards in the port area either on joint venture or on a build, own and transfer (BOT) basis. The invitation is open to experienced domestic as well as international private sector ocean-going ship builders or repair yards. The criteria for investors to participate in the EoI is that the firm should own a large or medium-size ocean-going ship-building or repair yard and is professionally managed in active business for the last five years. The last date for receiving the expression of interest is October 31.

The project: Capt Subhash Kumar, Chairman in-charge of the port, said the port would provide around 19.2 hectares with water-front of 550 metres and 200 metres away from the entrance channel at Puthuvypeen near the Vypeen gut, on lease basis at the rates approved by the Tariff Authority of Major Ports .

The project has also been included in the port-based Special Economic Zone and hence would enjoy concessions in terms of duties, taxes, etc, he added.

No mega shipyards: He pointed out that the project has a tremendous scope, as there is no shipyard of international standards along the long coastline of India. Most of the yards in the country are not very well equipped and cannot take long haul dry-docking and repair of ships.

Moreover, the cost is also very high compared to international shipyards.

Most Indian-owned ships prefer to get the vessels repaired in dry docks in foreign countries, which is economically attractive. Once a mega shipyard is provided in India, not only Indian ships but vessels from other countries will also use its services, he added.

Kochi is an all-weather port and is strategically located on the trunk sea routes from Europe to Australia and to Far East and the Singapore-Gulf route, he said.

Financially viable: A feasibility study on the project revealed immense potential for developing the project with very high financial viability. The total Indian Merchant Fleet as on June 30, 2004 was 652 vessels, including 442 on coastal trade and 210 on overseas trade. The Working Group for the Ninth Plan had assessed the total annual demand for dry dock days for the Indian Merchant Fleet at 11,900.

For the Tenth Plan, 13,250 dry dock days per annum have been estimated. Against this, the capacity available in the Indian shipyards is estimated at 3,300 days. With the introduction of tonnage tax regime, the gap is likely to widen further unless commensurate dry docking facilities are created.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 7, 2005)
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