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Adani Ports emerges as sole bidder for Varanasi multi-modal river terminal

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APSEZ is also a contender for the Haldia river terminal

Mumbai :Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ) is the sole entity to place a price bid on a tender floated by waterways authority to privatise the multi-modal river terminal at Varanasi. This has avoided a potential embarrassment for the government on a much-publicised project built with World Bank funding which falls under the prime minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency.

APSEZ is also one of the four bidders to file qualification documents for privatising the multi-modal terminal at Haldia. The other bidders are Hindustan Infralog Pvt Ltd, Orissa Stevedores Ltd and IRC Natural Resource Pvt Ltd.

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has received one initial bid for the privatisation of the multi-modal terminal at Sahibganj in Jharkhand when the tender closed on March 30, sources in the ministry of ports, shipping and waterways said.

The three multi-modal terminals were built by the waterways development agency as part of the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JVMP), the 1,390 km long Varanasi to Haldia stretch along river Ganga with a $375 million loan from the World Bank.

For the last two years, the IWAI has been seeking bidders’ interest for running the three terminals and had even changed the tender terms. Operating models as bidders stayed away due to concerns over ship availability, scheduled and reliable services, availability of cargo as well as higher GST on cargo movement through waterways compared to road, sources said.

Privatisation on EOT model

The multi-modal terminals at Varanasi and Haldia are being privatised on the Equip, Operate and Transfer (EOT) model since there is no scope for expanding these terminals requiring substantial capital investments from the private entity.

Whereas IWAI had sought bids for the Sahibganj terminal in November last year on a, operate, manage and develop (OMD) model for a concession period of 30 years.

The successful bidder will be responsible for the OMD of the multi-modal terminal built by IWAI with an investment of ₹280 crore. IWAI plans to invest another ₹148 crore in rail connectivity to the terminal.

The private operator will be mandated to expand the terminal capacity from 3.03 million tonnes (mt) a year to 9.5 mt with an investment of ₹376 crore.

It will also undertake operation and management (O&M) of the proposed Ro-Ro terminal at Sahibganj.

The global tenders for Varanasi and Haldia terminals on the EOT model were issued in May last year but have been extended several times due to lack of bidder interest.

IWAI built the Varanasi terminal with an investment of ₹200 crore, and the agency plans to invest a further ₹85 crore on rail connectivity.

The private operator will be tasked with operating, managing and maintaining the terminal infrastructure and the proposed passenger pontoon jetty and equipping terminal infrastructure for augmenting capacity to 1.26 mt with an investment of ₹22.5 crore.

The Varanasi contract will have a tenure of 10 years which can be extended by two years.

IWAI built the terminal at Haldia with an investment of ₹452.2 crore, with another ₹19 crore being spent on rail connectivity.

The private operator will be mandated to operate, manage and maintain the terminal infrastructure and equip the terminal infrastructure for augmenting capacity to 3.07 mt with an investment of ₹47.5 crore.

The Haldia contract will have a concession period of 10 years which can be extended by five years.

Source: BL

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