MUMBAI : Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Infrastructure Ltd has emerged the highest bidder to equip, operate and maintain the new liquid cargo berths 3 and 4 at Jawaharlal Nehru Port near Mumbai for 30 years by placing the highest royalty bid of Rs252 per ton in a tender.
“JSW Infrastructure has quoted the highest royalty bid for the project,” said Unmesh Wagh, Deputy Chairman and Chairman In-charge of J N Port Authority, that runs J N Port. “This will enhance the Port’s revenue and reduce congestion in handling liquid cargo,” he added.
JSW Infrastructure outbid six others by a huge margin to emerge the highest bidder. The second highest bidder was IMC Ltd which quoted Rs 155 a ton.
State-owned oil refining and marketing firm Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) placed Rs108.01 per ton as royalty. BPCL currently runs liquid cargo berths 1 and 2 at J N Port.
Other bidders including J M Baxi Ports & Logistics Ltd, Ganesh Benzoplast Ltd, Aegis Logistics Ltd and Amma Lines Ltd quoted less than 100 per ton.
JSW Infrastructure, which has previously been very “conservative” in its port bids, surprised the industry with an aggressive price quotation for the liquid terminal bid.
Unofficially, J N Port Authority was expecting a royalty price bid in the range of Rs50-75 a ton or maximum Rs80-90 per ton.
“How much will JSW Infrastructure charge its customers to share Rs252 a ton with the port authority,” said a port industry official, noting that Mundra and Kandla ports are charging Rs250-300 a ton from customers for handling liquid cargo.
J N Port Authority will call a special board meeting in the next few days to consider and approve the bid of JSW Infrastructure.
The deal will bolster Mumbai-listed JSW Infrastructure’s stature as India’s second biggest private port operator and help expand its third-party customer base and entrench itself in synergistic businesses to increase revenue diversification.
JSW Infrastructure currently has a capacity to handle some 170 million tonnes (mt) of cargo across its network of perts and terminals across India’s coastline.
“We intend to pursue synergistic businesses such as development of container terminals, liquid storage terminals, container freight stations (CFS), multi-modal logistics parks (MMLP) and inland container depots (ICD) to enable us to provide end-to-end logistics solutions to our customers,” the port operator said in the prospectus for the initial public offering (IPO) of shares to list the company on the stock exchange.
Since going public in October last year, JSW Infrastructure has expanded inorganically through a slew of acquisitions.
These include picking majority stake in PNP Maritime Services Pvt Ltd from SP Port Maintenance (a Shapoorji Pallonji Group Company) for Rs270 crores for 50 percent of PNP port’s share capital plus an additional one share; winning the rights to build and operate a greenfield non-major port at Keni in Karnataka; acquiring a license to run container trains held by Sical Multimodal and Rail Transport Limited from Pristine Logistics & Infraprojects Pvt Ltd; acquisition of 100 percent of JSW Middle East Liquid Terminal Corp, (formerly known as Marine Oil Terminal Corp) and purchase of a 5 mt a year capacity liquid storage facility at Fujairah Port in UAE.
JSW Infrastructure is also expanding capacity organically by increasing the capacity of its existing ports/terminals. This includes adding 1.6 mt capacity to the 8 mt coal terminal it runs at Kamarajar Port in Tamil Nadu, raising the capacity of Jaigarh Port by building a 2 mt terminal for handling LPG, propane, butane etc besides constructing a non-major port at Jatadhar in Odisha.
Port contracts at Union government owned major ports are decided on the basis of royalty per ton of cargo handled at the terminal with the entity placing the highest royalty winning the deal for 30 years.
The additional liquid cargo berths at J N port can handle some 4.5 mt of petroleum, oil, and lubricants (POL), edible oil, chemicals, molasses, and any new product/liquid bulk commodity.
The new berths are designed to handle ships that can carry as much as 90,000 tons of liquid cargo requiring a draft of 15 metres. JSW Infrastructure will be free to set rates based on market conditions.
The additional berths are planned to ease the pressure on the existing liquid cargo jetties 1 and 2 run by state-owned oil refining and marketing firm Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and cater to the additional liquid cargo demand at the port.
The existing liquid cargo berths run by BPCL have a capacity to handle 6.5 mt and are operating at more than 90 percent capacity utilisation. The BPCL jetty mainly handles liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and chemicals such as ammonia.
By 2029, the additional liquid cargo berths at J N Port are projected to handle 4.46 mt of liquid commodities. The capacity of the additional berths depends on the product mix and handling rates for various products. Higher share of POL products may increase the capacity of the jetty as it has high handling rates and bigger parcel size, per tender documents issued by the port authority.