Bangalore: PSA International Pte Ltd, the world’s second-biggest container port operator, filed a writ petition in the Chennai high court on Tuesday against the Union government’s decision to exclude it from the bidding process for developing and operating a new container terminal at Tuticorin port.
“We have filed a writ petition in the Chennai high court today challenging the government’s decision to debar us from the bidding process,” a company executive said on condition of anonymity.
The port operator, fully owned by Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd, the investment arm of the Singapore government, was among five entities that were technically and financially qualified to bid for the terminal, which would have capacity to handle 600,000 standard containers a year.
However, while inviting price quotes from the short-listed bidders, PSA -Sical was excluded by port authorities.
The exclusion was because of a Central government policy that prohibits a firm that had won a cargo handling contract at a state-owned port from participating in the bidding process for the immediate next contract, so as to promote competition within a port. PSA had bid for the new terminal along with local partner Sical Logistics Ltd, with whom it is operating a 450,000 standard capacity a year container terminal at Tuticorin port.
This terminal is operating at full capacity.
The new project involves converting a multi-purpose cargo-handling berth at Tuticorin into a full-fledged container terminal to meet the rising demand for container traffic at the port. The project will be handed over to the bidder who offers the highest share to the government from its annual operating gross revenues.
The other short-listed bidders include Larsen and Toubro Ltd, Afcons Infrastructure Ltd, Chettinadu Logistics Pvt. Ltd and Oceanic Transport Ltd.
A spokesperson for Tuticorin port declined to comment.