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i-maritime News Service

Gammon Infrastructure gets nod to bid for port projects - 2013-05-17

The government has allowed Gammon Infrastructure to bid for port projects. This is expected to boost the fortunes of the port major in a year that the shipping ministry is going to award at least 25 port projects worth Rs 30,000 crore.

Along with Adani Ports and Punj Lloyd, Gammon Infrastructure had been denied clearance for the past few years to participate in various port projects in the country. The home ministry has never cited the reasons for denial. Lanco Infratech, another infra company, has also been consistently denied clearance due to its Chinese connections, according to ministry officials.

The clearance comes a week after the country's largest private sector port, Adani Port and SEZ, managed to obtain security clearance after three years.

A senior shipping ministry official told ET that they have granted security clearance to Gammon Infrastructure to bid for a project in Cochin and the security clearance for the company will stand for three years as per the new rules. In a move to streamline the security clearance mechanism, the shipping ministry had said a clearance once received would be valid for three years. Companies should welcome the move as now they don't have to approach the home ministry for each case.

The shipping ministry is authorized to grant security clearance after consultations with various ministries including home, defense and external affairs and intelligence agencies. The company's bid for a project in Cochin will be valid now. Bids submitted by private operators are not opened until they receive security clearance from the home ministry. A senior official at Gammon Infrastructure said the company is yet to receive a formal notification regarding the same.

In contrast to Indian port operators, foreign companies such as DP World and APM Terminals have been granted clearance for all the major port projects in the country. The government has, however, decided to deny clearance to Chinese companies to participate in port projects due to the shifting relationship between the neighbors.

The shipping ministry has been struggling to complete port projects and managed to accomplish only half of their planned target in the fiscal. Lack of private investments was cited as one of the reasons for the delay in implementing port projects in the country.

Source: The Economic Times