DP World moves court against JN Port over scrapping of auction

DP World moves court against JN Port over scrapping of auction

Bangalore: Global port operator DP World Ltd has taken Jawaharlal Nehru Port to court over the scrapping of an auction to set up a Rs600 crore container handling facility in which it was one of the two qualified bidders.

The port informed its board of the decision on 14 October. On 7 October, Mint had reported that the port would cancel the auction after a poor response from bidders and lawsuits delayed the process initiated last year.

The only other qualified bidder for the project was a consortium of Vadinar Oil Terminal Ltd and Essar Ports and Terminals Ltd. DP World confirmed that it has filed a writ petition at the Bombay high court in this regard.

Earlier, Mundra Port and SEZ Ltd and ABG Infralogistics Ltd had separately challenged the port’s decision to exclude them from the auction. The hearings on these lawsuits have not yet concluded.

The port “will restart the auction process afresh after getting some clarifications from the Union shipping ministry on some issues", a port official said on condition of anonymity. He refused to specify these issues and also when a new bidding process would begin. An official spokesman declined to comment.

The petition filed by DP World, the world’s fourth largest container port operator majority owned by the Dubai government, is a rare instance of a firm challenging the decision of a government-owned port to scrap an auction.

The port, located near Mumbai, handles around 50% of India’s container cargo of around 7.85 million standard containers. It wants to develop through private investments a container terminal with a capacity to handle 600,000 standard containers a year.