Mumbai: Spanish logistics and port operating firm Dragados-SPL has joined as port operator in the consortium comprising Gammon Infrastructure Projects Ltd, state-run trader MMTC Ltd and commodities supplier Noble Group that is bidding for the proposed coal and iron ore berths at the Union government-owned Paradip Port in Orissa.

Big budget: The two projects planned at Paradip Port (in picture), each with a capacity to handle 10 million tonnes of imported coking coal and iron ore exports annually, will together cost about Rs900 crore to build

The two projects, each with a capacity to handle 10 million tonnes a year of imported coking coal and iron ore exports, will together cost about Rs900 crore to build. Seventeen entities have submitted initial bids for developing and operating the projects before the deadline for submission closed on 12 September.

“Dragados will be our port operating partner," said an official with Gammon Infrastructure, who did not want to be named. Dragados SPL, Spain’s largest port operator, is part of the $16 billion (Rs64,480 crore) Madrid-based infrastructure firm ACS Group.

“Unless entities bidding for the projects have experienced port operators, they will not qualify for the project," the Gammon official added.

Gammon has teamed up with two strong commodity traders—MMTC and Noble Group—to bid for the single commodity cargo handling projects. “As such, any change in policy on either coal or iron ore will not affect us because MMTC is with us. Being a PSU (public sector undertaking), there will be no restrictions on MMTC," he said.

A 50:50 joint venture between Gammon Infrastructure and Dragados is developing a Rs1,200 crore, 1.2 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) a year capacity offshore container terminal at Mumbai port. TEU is the standard size of a container and is a common measure of capacity in the container business.

Gammon also operates a multi-commodity berth at the Centre-owned Visakhapatnam port.

The Gammon-MMTC-Noble-Dragados consortium is competing with the likes of Rio Tinto; MSPL Ltd; Essar Shipping & Logistics Ltd; Maytas Infra Ltd; Lanco Infratech Ltd with Sharjah-based Gulftainer Co. Ltd as port operator; Jindal Steel and Power Ltd; IMC Ltd; Monnet Ispat Ltd; ABG Heavy Industries Ltd; Sical Logistics Ltd; Emirates Trading Agency; IL&FS-Sara International Ltd; Larsen & Toubro-TM International Logistics Ltd; Macquarie Bank-GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd; Navyug Engineering Co. Ltd and the Adani Group, to win the 30-year project.

Paradip Port has hired Ernst & Young to scrutinize the applications submitted by prospective bidders, short-list the candidates and help in evaluating the bids.