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i-maritime News Letter

Berths for handling iron ore, coal at Paradip hang fire - 2013-01-04

The fate of BOT (build, operate, transfer) berths to be built at Paradip port by way of PPP (public-private partnership) to handle iron ore and coal continues to be uncertain. The concession agreements between the successful bidders and the port authorities for construction and operation of the berths were signed nearly four years ago. Earlier, the delay was due to the delay in getting some statutory clearances from environment and other authorities concerned. The present uncertainty has been caused by the court cases pending in the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the Nobel Group-led consortium (MMTC and Gammon India are the other partners), the successful bidder that has formed a special purpose vehicle, Blue Water Iron ore Terminal Pvt Ltd, for the construction and operation of the iron ore berth, is believed to have developed cold feet about the project, more so because of the not-so-satisfactory situation on the global iron ore market. “The promoters of Blue Water Iron Ore Terminal will let us know within a week or so if they are still interested in the project,” observe PPT sources.

Paradip Port Trust, it is learnt, has been unable so far to hand over the land to the Nobel-led consortium and the Essar Group to facilitate construction of iron ore and coal berths respectively. This is because the private firms that had earlier taken on lease the plots of land from the port authorities for storing iron ore refuse to vacate the plots. “They went to court when we served notice on them to vacate the plots and the cases are pending,” observe the sources. “Unless the plots are vacated and handed over to the Nobel-led consortium, work on the iron ore berth cannot be started,” add the sources. The location identified for the coal berth to be built by Essar Paradip floated by Essar Projects is such that unless the work on the iron ore berth is started, the work on the coal berth too cannot be started. “The entire area has to be cleared of the occupants of the plots first,” the sources point out. “There are 80 such plots.” The capacity of each berth is estimated at 10 million tonnes per annum and the total cost of the two berths will come to more than Rs 1,000 crore.

Source : Hindu Business Line