New Delhi: Shell group unit Hazira Port Pvt. Ltd (HPPL) is looking for a port operator to develop a multi-cargo port at Hazira near Surat in Gujarat, a top official said on Monday.

Search on: People at work at the Hazira plant. Hazira Port Pvt. Ltd has asked Citibank to search for an operator, says its chief executive.

Through this arrangement, the company wants to develop a multi-cargo port and construct two berth container terminals at Hazira with a capacity to handle four million twenty-foot equivalent units (an industry measure for containers) a year, he said. The port will also have a speciality chemical berth.

“We do not intend to take any equity participation (in the special purpose vehicle that will be created to develop the multi-cargo port). While we have already invested $250 million (around Rs1,252 crore) on the port part, around $500 million will be invested by the new partner. Going forward, the overall investment potential will be $1 billion," Shukla said.

Shell Gas BV, part of the Anglo-Dutch Shell Group, has a 74% stake in HPPL, while France’s Total Gaz Electricité holds the rest.

“Every major port operator has evinced interest. The sub-concessionaire will be a separate around three to four years it should be up and running. The sub-concessionaire will sign a contractual agreement," Shukla said.

The proposed multi-cargo port would not only boost capacities in the country, but also provide industries a trade gateway as well as shorten access time to northern India. It will also provide relief to the congestion at major ports in the region such as Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru Port at Navi Mumbai and Mundra in Gujarat.