GANDHINAGAR : Dubai-based DP World has promised to invest ₹24,000 crore in Gujarat for developing various logistic facilities in the state including a proposal to build a port at Nargol in South Gujarat.
The global logistics player signed six Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB), a State government agency for the development of port and port-led infrastructure earlier this month, official sources in GMB told. These MoUs are part of the agreements being signed by the State government in the run-up to the 10th Edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit scheduled to be held on January 10-12, 2024.
As per one of the six MoUs inked in December 2023, DP World proposes to invest ₹10,000 crore in developing Nargol as a “mega multi-commodity deep draft port” which is being positioned by the state government as a future alternative to Jawaharlal Nehru Port or JNPT in Mumbai.
Apart from the proposed investments at Nargol, DP World has also signed an MoU for investing an additional ₹5000 crore for developing a multi-purpose deep draft port in Kutch and another ₹2,000 crore MoU for developing a similar deep draft port at Jamnagar district of Gujarat. An official from GMB however said that the proposed investments by DP World were also for expanding their existing facilities in Gujarat.
DP World has been operating an international container terminal at Mundra in Kutch since 2003. The company also operates inland terminals at Ahmedabad and Hazira near Surat. DP World could not be contacted for a response.
DP World has also proposed to invest ₹2000 crore Free Trade Warehousing Zone (FTWZ) at Kandla in Kutch district and an additional ₹5000 crore for the development of Tuna Tekra container terminal in Kutch district. DP World signed a concession agreement with Deendayal Port Trust (DPT) in August for developing this terminal.
Gujarat government’s attempt to develop a port in Valsad district dates back to 1997. Earlier, the greenfield port was proposed to be built at Maroli located about 10 kilometers away from Nargol. Around 1998, GMB awarded the development rights for the port to an Indo-US consortium composed of Unocal Corporation and Mumbai-based telecommunication firm National Telecom of India Ltd or Natelco. GMB too had a minority stake in the project. However, public protests saw the project being shelved.
Later Nargol was chosen as an alternate location and in 2012, GMB awarded a Letter of Intent to a consortium of Ahmedabad-based Cargo Motors Pvt Ltd and Amarillis, an international arm of Israel Port Company. However, the project did not take off and in July 2019, the government decided to cancel the proposal. In 2021, public protests rekindled in Nargol village of Valsad district after the Gujarat government decided to float global bids for the Nargol port. The location identified for building this port is located about 140 kilometers North of Mumbai and 120 kilometers south of Surat.
Currently, the Gujarat government has proposed to develop Nargol port under PPP (Public Private Partnership) mode. In 2021, the government extended to the BOOT (Build Own Operate Transfer) period for this project to 50 years from the earlier 30 years.