NEW DELHI : Ten firms that have filed expressions of interest (EoI) for developing and operating the international container transhipment port at Galathea Bay in the Great Nicobar Island.
Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd, JSW Infrastructure Ltd, Dutch dredging contractor Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V, Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd, Container Corporation of India Ltd and Essar Ports Ltd are among the ten entities that have filed expression of interest for developing and running an international container transhipment port at Galathea Bay in the Great Nicobar Island.
Megha Engineering & Infrastructures Ltd, Navayuga Engineering Co Ltd, Vishwa Samudra Holdings Pvt Ltd and PDP International Pvt Ltd have also submitted EoIs for the project, government sources said.
To be sure, the EoI is not a formal tender to pick an investor to build and run the first phase of the box transhipment port but is an exercise run by the government to seek suggestions from interested parties on ways to implement the project.
The EoI aims to finalize the project structure and qualification criteria after taking views of the interested applicants. Based on the responses received, Request for Qualification (RFQ)/Request for Proposal (RFP) and Draft Concession Agreement document will be prepared for bidding purposes.
The planned container transhipment hub is strategically located on the trade route midway between existing transshipment terminals (Singapore, Klang and Colombo) and feeder ports, with natural water depth of over 20 metres to help handle big container ships, besides having potential to capture transhipment cargo from Indian East Coast ports, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The Great Nicobar Island is just 40 nautical miles from the Malacca Strait international shipping channel through which some 35 percent of the annual global sea trade passes.
The economic scale effects in container shipping have led to a rapid increase in size for all types of vessels, from feeders to the large inter-continental carriers. The proposed port will be designed to handle ships that can carry as much as 28,840 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
“The proposed transshipment port, with its deep draft, additional capacity, and greater efficiency, will provide an alternate option to shipping lines for container transshipment. Further, the proposed infrastructure facilities shall be such that the service levels and facilities match with that of the top global container transshipment terminals and neighbouring ports,” a government official said.
The Union government-owned Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, Kolkata, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Integrated Development Corporation Ltd (ANIIDCO) will helm the port on the landlord model wherein the common/basic infrastructure would be built by the government while the cargo handling activities will be outsourced to specialists in the field for as much as 50 years.
The private operator will be free to set rates based on market forces.