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Private box terminal: Ennore Port may look for new developers - 2012-07-02

Ennore Port Ltd has put ‘on notice’ the port’s private container terminal project. This is due to ‘inordinate’ delay in securing funds by a private consortium, which is led by Eredene Capital of the UK, for the project. The port had encashed a sum of Rs 14 crore towards ‘bid security’ from the private concessionaire due to the delay.

Eredene, in partnership with Grup Maritim TCB of Spain, was awarded the build-operate-transfer project in June 2009 for 30 years. “If there is further delay, the next step could be to terminate the concessionaire and look for a new operator,” said Mr S. Velumani, Chairman and Managing Director, Ennore Port Ltd. “We may wait for another two to three weeks to take a decision on the termination,” he said. Eredene was given a deadline to tie up the funds till December 31, 2011. An extension was given till April 30. However, there is no sign of the operator securing funds. “We have given enough time to them,” Mr Velumani told Business Line.

When sought for his reaction, the Union Shipping Secretary, Mr P.K. Sinha, told Business Line that “We cannot wait indefinitely. We have given more than a year’s extension and need to take a decision soon. It is valuable assets for us.” Eredene is discussing with a group of banks led by State Bank of India to arrange as much as Rs 1,300 crore for the project. The terminal is planned to have an annual capacity to handle around 1.5 million TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units). Mr Velumani said that the bank was introducing new clauses and wants revalidation of the new commercial terms. After the notice was issued, the company has said that things would be sorted out soon, he said. The terminal will have a quay length of 1,000 metres with 15-metre water depth at the berths and will be able to handle three container vessels of up to 8,000 TEUs simultaneously.

Source : Hindu Business Line