Bangalore: The Chennai high court on Friday stayed an auction for a contract to develop and operate a new container terminal at Tuticorin port in Tamil Nadu, after PSA International Pte Ltd petitioned it earlier this month questioning its exclusion from the bidding.
PSA, the world’s second-biggest container port operator, is owned by Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd, the Singapore government’s investment arm. It was among five entities qualified to bid for the Rs312.23 crore terminal.
PSA made its bid with local partner Sical Logistics Ltd, with which it already operates a terminal at Tuticorin port that has a capacity to handle 470,000 standard containers a year. The new terminal will have a capacity to manage 600,000 standard containers a year.
The Union government-owned port excluded PSA-Sical from the price bids, citing a 2006 policy that prohibits a group from participating in an auction if it had won the previous cargo-handling contract as well at the same state-owned port.
“The policy is not applicable in this case because the contract terms signed with the port authority in 1998 for the existing terminal did not deny us the right to participate in the auction process for a new container terminal at the port,” a PSA executive said on condition of anonymity.
Spokespersons for Tuticorin port and Sical Logistics declined to comment.
The project involves installing equipment and other facilities to convert an existing multi-purpose cargo-handling berth at Tuticorin into a container terminal to meet rising demand. The contract will be awarded to the group that offers the highest share of revenues to the government. The other bidders include Larsen and Toubro Ltd, Afcons Infrastructure Ltd, Chettinadu Logistics Pvt. Ltd and Oceanic Transport Ltd.