Week ending March 12, 2002



Century Textiles wants to hive off shipping business Century Textiles & Industries, a flagship of the BK Birla group is reportedly planning to sell of its two ships and exit from shipping business. The company has called a board meeting on March 9, 2002 to formalize its decision. The company had four ships in its fleet – three handymax bulk carriers and one product tank carrier. For the past few months, the company has been reported to be seeking buyers for its ships and has already finalized buyers for two of the ships. The shipping division of the company will be closed after selling the remaining two ships. The company’s shipping division has been under pressure because of global recession.

Essar Shipping bags crude shipping contract from Reliance Essar Shipping, part of the Essar Group, has secured a contract for carrying crude oil from Iran to Jamnagar port in Gujarat for Reliance Petroleum. The deal is believed to be totally worth $300,000, involving transport of one million ones of crude oil. The Essar Group is also coming up with a 10.5 million tonne refinery in Gujarat adjacent to Reliance’s 27 million tonne refinery.

P&O Nedlloyd profits decline by 25 per cent Peninsular Oriental Steam Navigation’s full year profits for the year 2001 have come down by 25 per cent, following downturn in the container shipping business. Over-capacity in the container sector, along with the downturn in the world economic activity has severely hit the performance of the company.

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Kandla Port Trust signs MoU with CWCThe Kandla Port Trust (KPT) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) for developing and operating container freight station (CFS). The Kandla Port has provided 14 hectares of land to CWC for undertaking the first phase of CFS, which is expected to accommodate 5,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). The first phase of the CFS will be completed by February 2004.The second phase of the development plan for the CFS will further take up the capacity to 8,000 TEUs.

Vizag Port Trust tops in cargo handling The Vishakapatanam Port Trust (VPT) has handled 40.1 million tones of cargo during the eleven months of the financial year 2001-02, the highest among the major ports. The port has exceeded the target set by the Ministry of Surface Transport at 38.8 million tones of cargo by about more than 3 per cent. The traffic recorded by the port during the eleven months of 2001-02 was however marginally lower than the traffic recorded by the port in the same corresponding period of previous financial year.

Pipavav Port offers to set up EDI pilot model Gujarat Pipavav Port Ltd., the holding company for the Pipavav port, has offered the department of revenue of the Gujarat State Government to set up electronic data interchange (EDI) pilot project, in an effort to bring down the transaction costs and quick clearance of cargo. The project, which would take 12-18 months, will be initiated once the department of revenue takes a final decision. The port has handled bulk cargo aggregating to 2 million tonne and 15,000 TEUs till January 2002. The total handling capacity of the port is expected to go up to 12 million tones of bulk cargo and one lakh TEUs, once the ongoing rail connectivity project, which would link up the port to the hinterland, is completed.

Vizag port plans to enter into bunkering services The Vishakapatanam Port Trust (VPT) in an effort to broaden its revenue streams, is planning to enter into bunkering services, including supply of water and provisions for ocean-going vessels. As a part of the exercise, the VPT has assigned the Indian Port Association (IPA) to undertake a feasibility study on the proposed venture. The study being taken up by IPA is expected to make comprehensive projections of cargo and vessel traffic at the Vizag port up to 2020.

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NEERI to take up EIA study on Sethusamudram project The Union Ministry of Shipping has asked the National Environmental Research Institute (NEERI) to conduct a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study of the project. The ministry had earlier proposed to appoint a global consultant for preparing detailed feasibility study of the Sethusamudram project, through the bidding process. However, the bids received by the ministry for appointment of consultant have been discharged and NEERI has been asked to an EIA study within next six months. NEERI had earlier carried out a study of initial environment examination (SIEE) of the project.

Keppel for a joint venture with Cochin Shipyard Keppel Shipyard, Singapore-based shipbuilder is exploring prospects of entering into a joint venture with the Cochin Shipyard Ltd for setting up a ship repair yard. Keppel is also interested in renewing its relationship with Chennai-based Chokhani International Ltd., its erstwhile partner in India. Keppel had a tie-up with Chokhani in setting up the first floating dry dock in the country. Keppel’s business interest in Indian yard comes at a time when the government is looking at privatization of CSL and Hindustan Shipyard Ltd. As per the recommendations made by the Expenditure Reforms Commission, there was no strategic or commercial rationale for continuing both these shipyards in the public sector.


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