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Home Port News India seeks new bids for east coast transshipment terminal

India seeks new bids for east coast transshipment terminal

The V.O. Chidambaranar Port Authority (Tuticorin), a major government port on the Indian coast, has reactivated steps to select a private investor for the development of a new container transshipment terminal. A previous bidding attempt was eventually scrapped due to lukewarm investor interest.

According to the current tender, the public-private-partnership (PPP) project is estimated to cost approximately Rs. 7,200 crore (US$929 million), to be built in two phases.

“The outer harbour development is being proposed with two numbers of container terminals of 1000m quay length each,” the authority said. “The project majorly involves construction of breakwater, creation of backup yard, berth/jetty construction, mechanisation in the berth & stack yard, railway line laying, navigational aids, capital dredging in the outer harbour basin and approach channel, construction of rubble bund for reclamation of dredged materials etc.”

The authority noted that with the increasing size of container ships, it is critical to have terminal infrastructure able to handle vessels of 22,000 TEU capacity.

Current plans for call for two terminals of 1,000 metres quay each, with a combined capacity level of 4 million TEU annually when fully operational.

“The Concessioning Authority shall hand over the waterfront area required for development of Outer Harbour to the concessionaire for the project for a period of 30 years,” VOC said. “Other statutory Clearances during the construction, operation and maintenance phases of the project, including CTE [consent to establish] and CTO [consent to operate], shall be the scope of the concessionaire.”

While the project’s commercial viability would depend upon a variety of factors, a market-driven tariff window permitted under the government’s new port law guidelines could make it more “alluring” for potential investors, according to industry observers.

Interested bidders have until 31 May, 2022 to file their initial expressions of interest.

At present, Tuticorin (VOC) features two container terminals, one operated by PSA International and the other under a joint venture led by Bollore Africa Logistics.  Mediterranean Shipping (MSC) recently acquired the Bollore terminal network, helping the shipping behemoth extend its reach to India’s east coast, having already positioned itself on the country’s west coast with a terminal partnership with Adani Group at Mundra Port.

That investment move comes as Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port, which thrives in large part on Indian transshipment cargo, is caught up in serious operational challenges due to the economic/political crisis plaguing the island country.  As a result, mainline operators are being forced to make alternative ad-hoc calls to Indian east coast ports, an opportunity that promises market share expansion for terminals there.

Jenny Daniel
India correspondent

Contact email: [email protected]

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