All three shortlisted by Ennore Port for developing a similar facility

India’s top three players in port are vying with each other for converting the coal berths of Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) into a container terminal.

Hindustan Ports Private Limited (the Indian arm of Dubai’s DP World), PSA Chennai Investments Private Limited and Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) have evinced interest in converting the Jawahar dock berths into a container terminal at a cost of Rs. 460 crore.

Request for Qualification (RfQ) documents were submitted by them on Tuesday.

The first two bidders are already operating container terminals at ChPT, namely Chennai Container Terminal Limited and Chennai International Terminal Private Limited, while APSEZ made attempts to develop the Chennai Mega Terminal.

Incidentally, all three players have been shortlisted by the Ennore Port Ltd (EPL) for developing a 1.4 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) container terminal. Besides, APSEZ is interested in developing EPL’s multi-cargo terminal with two million tonnes capacity.

The technical bids are being evaluated by EPL officials.

Talking to The Hindu, ChPT chairman Atulya Misra said: “It is a good sign that the leading players have evinced interest. We don’t anticipate any problem and can move quickly between finalising RfQ and seeking Request for Proposals. Prior to that, the Standing Finance Committee will hold a meeting with them.”

Till two years ago, Jawahar dock was handling coal. But it was suspended following a directive from the Madras High Court.

ChPT’s move to construct a mega container terminal has been deferred for the time being due to cost over run and low percentage of revenue offered by the selected bidders. Currently, ChPT is in the process of appointing a transaction adviser to restructure the project.

As per the proposal, Jawahar dock will have two berths with a quay length of 600 metres to handle mid-size vessels of 4,000 TEUs. It will be offered to the successful bidder on design, build, finance, operate and transfer basis for a concession period of 30 years. To be completed in 24 months, the terminal will have an annual capacity of 0.8 million TEUs. The operator has the choice to install Quay cranes and Rubber-Tyred Gantry Cranes among others.

Another ChPT official said, “It is a very good response as top players have shown interest. The papers will be scrutinised within the next few days.”

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