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Five companies in race for shallow water and coastal berth tender at J N Port

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MUMBAI : Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ), JSW Infrastructure Ltd, J M Baxi Ports & Logistics Ltd, Bothra Shipping Services Pvt Ltd and Yogayatan Ports Pvt Ltd have applied on a tender floated by state-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority to privatise its shallow water berth and coastal berth through the public-private-partnership (PPP) route, multiple sources said.

The 4.5 million tonne (mt) a year capacity shallow water berth has a length of 445 metres with a depth of 10 metres, capable of handling container, cement, general cargo and liquid cargo vessels.

The construction of the dedicated berth for coastal shipping was taken up under the ‘Sagarmala’ program of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways to provide a boost to coastal cargo movement.

The coastal berth has the capacity to handle about 2.5 million tonnes of coastal cargo like break bulk, dry bulk etc. The berth has a back-up area of 11 hectares to store cargo. JNPA also plans to set up silos for storage of cement which will enable faster turnaround of vessels.

The coastal berth was completed in November 2020 and trial operations were carried out.

The berth will provide better infrastructure for coastal shipping and decongest rail and road networks, ensuring cost-competitive and effective multi-modal transportation solutions.

The construction of the dedicated berth is in line with the government’s policy to promote coastal shipping to shift freight from road to an environment-friendly and cost-effective mode of transport.

The coastal berth will aid smooth and faster coastal movement of cargo through a green channel and help increase the share of coastal shipping in the domestic cargo movement and as well as facilitate the export-import (EXIM) community, a port official said.

APSEZ is unlikely to qualify for the project as a tender condition forbids firms involved in contract termination at other ports from participating. A coal handling terminal run by a unit of APSEZ at Visakhapatnam Port Authority was terminated in December 2020, a few years into its 30-year concession.

Invoking this clause, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority disqualified Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone earlier this month from a separate tender to privatise the container handling facility self-run by the port authority.

APSEZ challenged its disqualification from the tender in the Mumbai High Court and the petition is yet to be decided.

The court order will have a bearing on the participation of APSEZ in the shallow water and coastal berth tender also, officials said.

JNPA has mandated Crisil Risk and Infrastructure Solutions Ltd as transaction advisor for the planned privatisation of the shallow water and coastal berth.

Applications for the project have been invited in a single stage clubbing both the technical and financial bids, unlike other tenders which have a two-stage bidding process – a technical bid followed by a price bid.

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