Royal HaskoningDHV to carry out detailed design, engineering for JNPT-led new port at Vadhavan

P Manoj Mumbai | Updated on October 01, 2020 Published on October 01, 2020

JNPT will hold equity stake equal to or more than 50 per cent in the SPV that will be formed to build the port   -  PAUL NORONHA

The Netherlands-based Royal HaskoningDHV has won the mandate from state-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) to carry out detailed design and engineering for an ambitious ₹65,544-crore major port it plans to build at Vadhavan near Dahanu in Maharashtra’s Palghar district.

Royal HaskoningDHV quoted about ₹28 crore for the work to emerge the lowest bidder on a tender floated by JNPT. “The work order was awarded on September 30,” a Shipping Ministry official said.

On February 5, the Union Cabinet accorded ‘in-principle’ approval for the mega port to be built by a special purpose vehicle (SPV) formed under the Companies Act in which JNPT — India’s biggest state-owned container gateway —will hold equity stake “equal to or more than 50 per cent”.

The port company will develop the common infrastructure including reclamation, construction of breakwater, road and rail connectivity to the hinterland, while the cargo handling activities would be outsourced to private firms on public- private- partnership (PPP) model.

The mandate of Royal HaskoningDHV includes updating the initial detailed project report (DPR), preparing tender documents for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for common infrastructure, detailed design and engineering for all the 11 cargo terminals, including four container terminals, and tender documents for selecting PPP operators.

Port industry sources are foxed by JNPT’s move to hire a consultant to do the entire detailed design and engineering for the new port.

“Port authorities don’t do the detailed engineering. They will prepare a DPR and float tenders to select PPP operators who will then do the detailed engineering for their respective terminals,” said an industry source.

He was also sceptical of JNPT’s move to set up a new port at Vadhavan and create competition for itself.

With the dedicated freight corridor (DFC) passing through Vadhavan and given its deep draft of about 20 metres capable of handling 25,000 TEU capacity ships, coupled with the distance advantage, the new port will emerge as a superior gateway compared to JNPT.

“Vadhavan will take the entire cargo of JNPT and the traffic originating from its northern side and southern Gujarat, similar to what happened to Mumbai Port Trust after JNPT was set up. Why should JNPT create its own competition by investing huge funds in creating common infrastructure when the cargo terminals are bid out through PPP route,” said Ramesh Singhal, Director at consulting firm i-maritime.

Government officials said the detailed engineering is being done by JNPT “to shorten the time to market the PPP terminals”.

Vadhavan is being built to handle 254 million tonnes (mt) of cargo, including 9.87 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

“Nobody comes to the market with such a massive capacity. This will be the world’s biggest port project in one go. Typically, ports are built in phases depending on demand. I have never seen a PPP project of this scale and size right from Day 1 in the world,” the industry source added.

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Published on October 01, 2020
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