Mumbai/ Bangalore: Ennore Port Ltd has decided to alter the scope of the project when it floats a fresh tender to build a container terminal at the port with private funds after an earlier attempt collapsed last year.
The port now plans to split the project into three separate terminals, each having a berth length of 700m and designed to load 1.5 million containers a year, chairman and managing director M.A. Bhaskarachar said in Mumbai on Monday. Ennore is the only port among the dozen controlled by the union government that is run as a company.
In the earlier tender, the private developer had to construct the facility in two phases, each with a berth length of 1,000 metres and capable of loading 1.5 million standard containers a year. In the new tender, each berth will have a length of 700m while the capacity remains the same. The change will enable Ennore port to handle more containers from a total berth length of 2,100m than envisaged in the earlier contract.
“We have decided to split the project into three separate terminals to promote competition among different operators within the port,” said M. Gunasekaran, general manager, finance. “Moreover, by reducing the berth length of each terminal to 700 metres from 1,000 metres and by retaining the capacity of each terminal, the port will be able to load more containers than the earlier plan.”
The port will award contracts to private firms by december to build the container terminals, Bhaskarachar said. The port will shortly hire a consultant to structure the projects.
The container terminal was scheduled to open by end of the year if the earlier contract had gone through. But a consortium led by Grup Maritim TCB SL, Spain’s biggest port terminal operator, which had won the rights to build the facility with an investment of Rs.1,407 crore, walked out of the deal in September 2012 after it failed to arrange funds of up to Rs 1,300 crore for the terminal despite the deadline for this being extended thrice.
The delay has cast doubts over the viability of the planned terminal, according to a Chennai-based port consultant who declined to be named as his firm works with Ennore Port.
In February, Larsen & Toubro Ltd opened a new container terminal at its Kattupalli port, which is adjacent to Ennore. The L&T terminal can load 1.2 million standard containers a year and the firm plans to double the capacity to 2.4 million standard containers when demand picks up.
Ennore’s Bhaskarachar is confident the project will succeed, pointing out that that the port had received so-called expressions of interest from 11 firms, including some of the top names in the port industry, when it sought to gauge the mood of investors. The consultant will draw up fresh cost estimates for the project, Bhaskarachar said.