Top operators queue up for JNPT privatisation
MUMBAI : Top port operators such as Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd, DP World, PSA International, APM Terminals, CMA Terminals Holding, Terminal Investment Ltd and JM Baxi Group are among the 12 groups that have submitted initial bids to a Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority tender to privatise the state-run facility.
APSEZ, India’s biggest private port operator, has applied on its own, while DP World has bid through its India holding company Hindustan Ports Pvt Ltd, officials said.
PSA International Pte Ltd, the terminal operating company owned by the Singapore sovereign wealth fund, has applied as PSA Bharat Ports & Logistics Pvt Ltd. APM Terminals Management B V, the container port operating unit of AP Moller-Maersk A/S, has tied-up with Taiwanese container shippers Wan Hai Lines Ltd to bid for the box terminal tender as potential bidders look to align with shipping companies to secure volumes.
CMA Terminals Holding, a subsidiary of CMA CGM S A, the world’s third largest container shipping firm, has partnered with International Cargo Terminals and Infrastructure Pvt Ltd (a unit of Mumbai-based JM Baxi Group) and Abu Dhabi Ports, a part of Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company, one of the region’s largest holding companies based in the UAE capital.
Terminal Investment Ltd, a unit of Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A (MSC), the world’s No 2 container line, has bid on its own for the terminal that will be designed to handle 1.8 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) a year. Allcargo Logistics Ltd has teamed up with Japan’s Mitsui & Co Ltd for the bid.
The other bidders include Manila-based International Container Terminal Services Inc, Singapore-based Samudera Shipping Line Ltd, Essar Ports Ltd and QTerminals L.L.C. (Qatar), the terminal operating company jointly formed by Qatar Ports Management Company and Qatar Navigation.
The overwhelming response to the privatisation of the container terminal, as part of the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), indicates investor confidence in India’s top state-owned container gateway which is fighting to retain volumes in the face of tough competition from privately-owned Mundra port, run by APSEZ, in Gujarat.
The recent conversion of the Centre-owned major port trusts into authorities that enables rate setting based on market forces is a further attraction for bidders.
Though intense competition is expected for the terminal, industry experts see “understanding” between bidders to wrest the project. For instance, APSEZ is expected to induct Terminal Investment as a joint venture partner, if it emerges bidder.
“APSEZ’s belly is not full without a terminal in JN Port. So, it will leave no stone unturned in its bid to gain a presence in JN Port,” said an industry consultant. The game plan of some other contenders wll be known as the bidding progresses, he added.
J N Port has four private container terminals, two run by Dubai government-owned DP World, and one each by PSA International and APM Terminals Management.
PSA’s participation in the tender while it is contractually mandated to build another one km of berth length by 2024 to add to its already operational berth of one km at J N Port has surprised the port industry.