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VOC Port Authority held pre-bid meet to build a 4 million TEUs capacity container terminal in the port’s outer harbour

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MUMBAI : Some of the potential bidders participated in a Roadshow held by the pre-bid meeting called by V O Chidambaranar Port Authority on 18 March in Mumbai to build a 4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) capacity container terminal in the port’s outer harbour with an investment of Rs 7,055.95 crores.

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ), Singapore’s PSA International Pte Ltd, JSW Infrastructure Ltd and J M Baxi Ports and Logistics Ltd were among the four major port operators that participated in the pre-bid meeting.

Potential bidders are calling for “re-working” the project cost estimated by the Port Authority in a global tender which some say was lesser by “at least 50 percent.”

The port authority has sought bids based on the lowest viability gap funding (VGF) quoted by bidders for developing the project, marking a departure from the model followed so far by the Union government owned major ports wherein cargo handling contracts are finalised on the basis of the highest royalty per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) or per ton of cargo quoted by the bidders.

“The VGF shall constitute the sole criteria for evaluation of bids: The project shall be awarded to the bidder quoting the lowest VGF,” the port authority wrote in the tender documents.

The VGF has been capped at Rs1,950 crores or actual quote, whichever is lower.

With the Cabinet clearing the project in the last week of February, re-working the cost estimates looks unlikely.

Mr. T K Ramachandran, Secretary, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways who was instrumental in pushing the much-delayed project during his time as Chairman of VOC Port Authority, assured potential developers during the Mumbai road show that the government has “built in necessary provisions in the sanction orders which enables us to be more flexible” to make the project work.

“You can tell us at the time of the pre-bid what exactly you think are the changes that you require but, of course, everyone can ask for the Himalayas, like someone said Rs4,000 crores of VGF. If you ask for Mount Everest, at least you may get Kanchenjunga or some of the other levels which we can try and help you,” Mr. Ramachandran insisted.

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