Home >Companies >People >Anil Udhavrao Diggikar named new chairman of JNPT

Bangalore: The shipping ministry on Tuesday named Anil Udhavrao Diggikar, a Maharashtra cadre Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1990 batch, as the new chairman of the state-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT).

He is currently the vice chairman and managing director of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corp. Ltd. JNPT did not have a fulltime chairman even since the incumbent N.N. Kumar demitted office in March.

The new chairman is expected to oversee the capacity expansion plans of JN port, the largest container port in India. In the year ended March, the port handled 4.467 million 20ft equivalent units (TEUs), the highest since it was opened in 1989. It was 7.33% higher than its previous year volume of 4.16 million TEUs.

Overall, the port handled 63.80 million tonnes of cargo in 2014-15, up 2.36% compared with 62.33 million tonnes a year ago. The port’s operating income rose to 1,757.01 crore in 2014-15 from 1,345.29 crore a year earlier.

With a new container terminal being constructed by Singapore’s PSA International Pte Ltd, the port’s container loading capacity will more than double over the next seven years.

Last week, the port made India’s largest lender State Bank of India its transaction advisor to raise as much as 2,600 crore worth of dollar-denominated loan by March to help fund construction of an eight-lane highway for faster evacuation of cargo.

JNPT has also drawn-up plans to set up a port-based special economic zone (SEZ) spread over 277 hectares.

SEZs are industrial enclaves that are deemed as foreign territories from the perspective of several economic laws. Industrial units in the SEZs benefit from a complete waiver on import duty, excise duty and service tax on the capital goods or raw materials they procure.

Diggikar will also monitor the arbitration proceedings initiated by JNPT seeking liquidated damages of over 400 crore from Singapore’s PSA International Pte Ltd on a tender that collapsed four years ago after the firm failed to sign an agreement within the stipulated time on winning the deal to build a new container terminal at the port, said a top official of the port has said. Mint had reported this on 17 August.

The port has appointed former judge V.G. Palshikar as the sole arbitrator in the case.

This is first instance of a Union government-controlled port seeking liquidated damages from a successful bidder of a contract for failure to sign a concession agreement within the stipulated time after the sector was opened to private investments in 1997.

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