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Govt’s plan to privatize multi modal terminals on inland waterways gathers pace

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NEW DELHI : The government’s plan to privatize the Multi Modal Terminals, built by India’s waterways development agency as a part of the Jal Marg Vikas Project, has picked up pace as the IRC Natural Resources Private Limited was awarded the letter of award to ‘Equip, Operate and Maintain’ the MMT Haldia, West Bengal on December 17th, 2021, by Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, the Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.

This marks the first successful Public Private Partnership (PPP) procurement process and selection of a private sector operator for the Indian Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) for the operationalization of an inland waterway asset of a Multi Modal Terminal (MMT) in India.

The Haldia MMT designed with the capacity of 3.07 million metric tons of cargo a year, is being privatized on the EOT (Equip, Operate and Transfer) Model.

The concession period spans for over 10 years and if required, can be extended for five years and the estimated investment is Rs. 47.5 crores.

After three unsuccessful attempts to privatize the Varanasi and Sahibganj MMTs, the IWAI is working on remodeling the projects ahead of issuing fresh tenders.

The private sector was preferred to undertake terminal operations and share part of the market responsibility as it is essential to efficiently operationalize and utilize the terminal infrastructure, to achieve project outcomes, to ensure higher asset turnover and to maintain the asset.

The MMT at Haldia is being developed at 61 acres of land under the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank. The cost of development of the terminal is about Rs. 500 crores. The total length of the jetty is 465m with four berths, two of which are designated for fly ash handling and the other two are designed for multi-cargo handling.

The Haldia MMT, is crucial to the growth of National Waterways 1 and 2 as it connects the two major waterways and acts the gateway for the protocol route of Bangladesh. The terminal will also help cargo from Haldia move upstream to Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on NW-1.

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