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Great Nicobar Transhipment Port : Centre to invite tenders for first phase of container terminal next month

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NEW DELHI : The eagerly awaited tender for the first phase of the International Container Transshipment Port (ICTP) in Galathea Bay, Andaman Nicobar Island, is set to be released next month.

“Tenders would be floated in the next 30-40 days or so, and construction should begin some three months after that…by this year, work should start on the Galathea Bay Port Project,” writes, quoting officials from the Shipping Ministry.

According to officials familiar with the discussion, the detailed project report for the transshipment port is prepared, and all necessary approvals are in place. Additionally, the project has received in-principle approval from the Department of Expenditure under the Union Ministry of Finance, and environmental clearances have also been obtained.

The Great Nicobar Project, which is likely to come up over 130 sq km of pristine forest, was accorded environmental clearance by an expert committee on 11 November last year. Additionally, stage 1 forest clearance has been received.

The development of the mega container terminal is part of the Island Development program, which envisages the holistic development of the Great Nicobar Island.

The project focuses on three key drivers, which can result in making it a leading container transshipment port, namely, strategic location in terms of proximity (40 nautical miles) with the international shipping trade route, availability of natural water depth of over 20 metres, and carrying capacity of transshipment cargo from all the ports in the proximity, including Indian Ports.

The port facilities are proposed to be developed in four phases between 2028 and 2058 and would handle 16 million containers per year, in the ultimate stage of development. The first phase, upon completion in 2028, will handle 4 million containers per year.

Expected to be built at a cost of Rs 18,000 crore, the first phase of development encompasses the construction of breakwaters, dredging, reclamation, berths, storage areas, construction of buildings and utilities, procurement and installation of equipment, and the establishment of a port colony.

“Work on Phase 2 will be taken up post-completion of Phase I and after assessing the demand. Separate tenders will be floated for Phase 2. In all likelihood, we are anticipating a maximum of seven years gap between Phase 1 and Phase 2, but if demand picks up, this time gap would be brought down,” the official said.

It may be recalled that the Shipping Ministry had sought expressions of interest (EoIs) for the development of the first phase of the ICTP project last year.

Notable names that have expressed interest include Adani Ports, JSW Infra, Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL), and Container Corporation. On the international front, Dutch dredging major Royal Boskalis Westminster has expressed its intent to be included in the bidding process.

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