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Mundra Port set to win Rs 1,060-cr dry bulk terminal project at Kandla - 2012-01-02

The last few days of 2011 proved to be a roller-coaster for the country's largest private sector port operator — the Rs 2,000- crore Mundra Port SEZ (MP-SEZ). A day after being denied rights to develop the Rs 3,700-crore Chennai container terminal by the Chennai Port Trust, the company is all set to bag a Rs 1,060-crore dry bulk terminal development project in Kandla port. The Chennai Port had rejected the company's tender for want of a higher revenue share. But it continues to be stonewalled by the Home Ministry, which has not provided a single security nod to MP-SEZ in the last one year. This has left MP-SEZ from ineligible to submit financial bids for many port expansion projects including JN Port and Visakhapatnam. For the Chennai and Kandla projects, the listed company (which has been renamed Adani Port SEZ) was able to submit financial bids as it had received a security nod before it hit the Home Ministry security clearance roadblock. The Ministries of Home, External Affairs and Defence need to give security clearances. The Shipping Ministry sends a list of shortlisted bidders for each project to these agencies for security nod. MP-SEZ can still hope to bag the Chennai terminal as the window to bid for it is still open. Re-bidding will happen based on earlier security nods for bidders.

“The Ministry is not required to again seek security nod for shortlisted bidders of Chennai container terminal,” said a source. Apart from MP-SEZ, six bidders had cleared the technical qualification stage for the Chennai project including DP World, IL&FS Maritime, L&T Transco, and GVK Power. But MP-SEZ was the lone bidder for the project and offered a revenue share of five per cent for developing and operating the terminal. In Kandla, MP-SEZ has offered to share 25.09 per cent revenue for developing and operating a dry bulk terminal off Tekra near Tuna, with an annual capacity of 14 million tonnes. The competitor — a consortium of IMC Group and ITD Cementation — had offered a much lower revenue share of about 3 per cent. The Kandla Port Board will take a final decision over the next few days. If MP-SEZ manages to bag the Kandla project, it will have a presence in three Central Government administered major ports — the other two being six-million-tonne-a-year (mtpa) coal import terminal in Visakhapatnam on the eastern coast and a 7-mtpa coal terminal in Murmugao, located on the western coast. This apart, MP-SEZ is also developing and operating Gujarat State Government administered ports at Mundra, Dahej and Hazira. A question sent to MP-SEZ if it will bid for the Chennai project again remained unanswered. The company had recently told Business Line that it was surprised by the security clearance refusal “considering the fact that MP-SEZ is the largest private port operator in the country with existing capacity of 100 mmtpa.”

Source: Hindu Business Line