Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd, India’s largest private port operator, is strengthening its foothold in the East Coast after establishing a major presence in the West.

It owns and operates three ports on the West Coast – Mundra, Dahej and Hazira – and is developing ports at Mormugao and Kandla.

In the East, it bagged a contract at Visakhapatnam port in 2011 to develop the EQ-1 berth and a part of the EQ-2 berth to handle steam coal (imported) in the inner harbour at a project cost of ₹324 crore.

On Sunday, the company signed a concession agreement with the Kamarajar Port Ltd at Ennore to the North of Chennai to develop a container terminal at an estimated cost of ₹1,270 crore.

Adani group is also close to acquiring Dhamra port in Odisha from its promoters, a deal that could be worth nearly ₹7,000 crore.

Basket of ports

Adani in future will offer a basket of ports in both East and West Coast to attract shipping lines with a comprehensive service contract, said J Krishnan, Chairman, Logistics Committee, Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It can adopt an aggressive pricing strategy harnessing the advantages at Kamarajar port.

Vasant R Murthy, CEO, Container Ports and Logistics, Adani Ports, said, “Having established as a major player in the West, we want to be a pan-India player.”

The company will have handled 100 million tonnes of cargo by the end of the current financial year.

“This was through efficiency, quality and customer centric approach. We will bring the same to East Coast ports,” he told Business Line. On container terminals finding the going slow, Murthy said, “Things may be slow now, but need not be the same in the future. We believe Tamil Nadu has got a healthy industrial base. With the right pricing and infrastructure, we can attract customers,” he said.

Two years ago, Adani bid for the ₹3,700-crore mega container terminal at Chennai port.

However, its offer of 5 per cent revenue share was rejected by the Chennai Port Trust.

For the Kamarajar port’s container terminal project, Adani offered a revenue share of 37 per cent, against the 27 per cent offered by DP World.

“It is quite a reasonable price and is the present trend in the country. The fourth container terminal development project at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust was awarded to PSA Bharat Investment Pte Ltd at 36 per cent,” said Rajeeva Sinha, Director, Adani Ports.

Adani will have 36 months to start operations at KPL, he said.