Portia Management Services Ltd, one of UK’s largest port managers, plans to jointly bid for a Rs2,000 crore coal and gas importing port at Simar in southern Gujarat along with Mumbai’s Zoom Developers Pvt. Ltd, to cash in on the building of ports as India’s trading rises in tandem with a growing economy.
Zoom and the UK company also said they were in talks to jointly bid for other minor ports proposed in Gujarat. Zoom plans to bid for five greenfield ports in Gujarat. All the projects, if won, would likely involve an investment of Rs3,050 crore.
Zoom has also submitted expressions of interest for upgrading and operating four other ports, for which investment estimates are yet to be drawn up.
Portia has already partnered Gammon India in Vizag Seaport Ltd, and South India Corp. at Ennore. Portia’s expertise lies in management services for handling bulk cargo, or commodities such as iron ore, coal and gas.
“We bring expertise in handling all kinds of cargo,” Portia managing director John Owens told Mint. However, for handling containers or boxed shipments, Portia decided to confine itself to smaller ports in India where the competition is less. The port at Simar is the biggest investment that Zoom is working on. It is slated to handle imported coal and liquified natural gas (LNG).
“To start, it will concentrate on import of coal,” said a Zoom official who did not wish to be named. Both terminals Vizag and Ennore, where Portia collaborated, are for handling coal.
Besides Simar, Zoom’s list in Gujarat include another bulk cargo port at Modhawa and a small container port at Porbandar, both requiring an investment of Rs300 crore each. The two other greenfield projects are minor ports to be built at Mahuva for Rs300 crore and at Khambat for half the amount.
The four minor ports Zoom is looking to upgrade and operate are Dahej, Okha, Bhavnagar and Navalakhi.
Zoom officials said they’re mainly looking for technical collaboration from Portia in some of their future projects. But they refrained from naming all the projects in which they would bring in Portia.
Owens is keen on both equity and technical partnership. Portia invested $5 million (Rs22 crore) in Vizag Seaport, for a 26% stake.
In the Ennore project it is investing about $4 million for a 32% stake.