Adani Group's ports and logistics arm Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ) inched closer to its 52-week high levels with heavy volumes as investors spot bright prospects following the introduction of draft Indian Ports Bill, 2022.

APSEZ shares gained 4.4 per cent on National Stock Exchange (NSE) to end at ₹870 on Friday. The broader index Nifty 50 ended in red at 17,758.45, down 1.1 per cent.

In the intra-day APSEZ shares hit a high of ₹883.9, inching closer to its 52-week high levels of ₹924.65—last seen on April 27, 2022. "APSEZ shares traded with heavy volumes of over 2.4 crore shares. This is about 5-7 times higher than normal day volumes. We last saw such heavy volumes in the stock in April, when the stock had hit its yearly high levels," said an Ahmedabad-based broker tracking the stock.

‘Positive for the sector’

An analyst from a Mumbai-based brokerage said, "The government has released the draft Indian Ports Bill, which appears positive for the overall ports sector including the private players. Adani being the largest private ports operator has a natural advantage following the reforms to the existing 100-year old Indian Ports Act which will be replaced with the new Bill."

However, another private ports operator, Gujarat Pipavav Port Limited ended in red at ₹84.75, down 1.34 per cent.

Billionaire Gautam Adani-led APSEZ has 12 ports and terminals located across seven maritime states in East and West coast of India having combined handling capacity of 538 million metric tonnes, of which 62 per cent capacity is on the west coast and 38 per cent is on the east coast. In all, Adani's 12 ports represent 24 per cent of India’s total port capacity.

The draft bill, released on Thursday by the Union Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways seeks to "establish a national council for fostering structured growth and development of the port sector, and ensure optimum utilisation of the coastline of India".

The government states that the proposed bill will homogenize and streamline the development of the maritime sector, along with, promoting ease of doing business by eliminating unnecessary delays, disagreements and defining responsibilities.

The bill also seeks to establish a Maritime State Development Council for "effective administration, control and management of non-major ports in India and provide for adjudicatory mechanisms for redressal of port related disputes". The council will be chaired by the Union Minister for ports, shipping and waterways.

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