Mumbai: China’s state-owned Ningbo Port Group Ltd and Ras Al Khaimah-based port operator Saqr Port Authority are vying to develop and operate coal and iron ore berths at India’s state-owned Paradip Port in Orissa.
Ningbo has teamed up with Hong Kong-based Great Harvest (Holdings) Ltd and India’s Monnet Ispat Ltd, while Saqr has partnered Emirates Trading Agency, or ETA, to bid for the two projects.
The Ningbo consortium and Saqr-ETA are among eight entities shortlisted for each of the two projects, said K. Raghuramaiah, chairman, Paradip Port.“ We will shortly invite price bids from the shortlisted bidders.”
The bidder willing to share the highest percentage of its annual gross revenues with the government-owned port will win the deal to develop and operate the berths.
Ningbo’s application will have to sail past the Union home ministry as Chinese firms are prohibited from bidding for Indian port projects. Ningbo operates China’s second largest port, in terms of cargo handled, after Shanghai.
The Central government-owned Paradip Port plans to build a Rs387 crore, 10-million-tonne (mt) capacity berth for handling imported coking coal used for firing steel plants, and another Rs505 crore, 10mt capacity berth for handling iron ore exported from India. When fully operational, the two berths will have deep drafts (depth) of 16m capable of handling ships with a cargo carrying capacity of 125,000 tonnes initially and later 185,000 tonnes.
Paradip is India’s second busiest iron ore handling port, after Mormugao Port in Goa. India exported 93.79mt of iron ore in the 12 months through March 2007 out of which Paradip handled 11.94mt. Out of the total exports, 80.16mt was sold to Chinese buyers. Paradip also handles 10mt a year of local coal shipped through the port to Ennore, Tuticorin, New Mangalore and Visakhapatnam for customers such as Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, Karnataka Power Corp. Ltd and AP Genco.
The other bidders include miner Rio Tinto India Pvt. Ltd; Gammon Infrastructure Projects Ltd-MMTC Ltd and Noble Group; Larsen and Toubro Ltd-TM International Logistics Ltd; Lanco Infratech Ltd-Lanco Kondapalli Power Pvt. Ltd-Gulftainer Co. Ltd; Mundra Port and SEZ Ltd; Essar Shipping Ltd- Essar Shipping and Logistics Ltd; and Sical Logistics Ltd-Orissa Stevedores Ltd.
L&T and TM International Logistics (the joint venture logistics firm floated by Tata Steel Ltd and Germany’s Martrade Holdings GmbH) team has bid only for the coal terminal, while Sical Logistics-Orissa Stevedores team is in the fray for the iron ore berth. The remaining entities are bidding for both the berths.
Bidders, such as Rio Tinto and Hong Kong-based Noble Group, which trade in coal and iron ore from India, could benefit by chanelling the commodity through the berths in Paradip if they win the right to build and operate them.