Nine parties evince interest in pre-bid meet

An attempt by the Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) to convert its existing three coal berths at Jawahar Dock (East) into a container terminal has received good response from nine parties.

The pre-bid meeting along with site inspection was held on Monday to elicit response from the prospective clients.

The bidders raised questions about the project as they have two more weeks to submit their Request for Qualification (RfQ) documents.

As per the proposal, the successful bidder will be offered 655 metres of quay length to accommodate two berths and 20 hectares for backup and storage facilities. The total cost of the project is pegged at Rs. 475 crore.

Talking to The Hindu, ChPT Chairman Atulya Misra said five parties expressed keen interest to develop the container terminal and four parties for modernising the terminal. It included the existing terminal operators, Adani Port, Mundra Port and Maersk shipping line among others. ChPT decided to convert the JD (East) berths into a container terminal following objections from the Madras High Court on handling dusty cargoes.

During 2011-12, the dock handled 1.50 million tonnes of coal. Since then, the berths are used for handling edible oil, molasses, lime stone, rock phosphate, sulphur, other ores, phosphoric acid, byrites, granite, scrap, mill scales, logs and timber and general cargo.

The proposal calls for developing the berth into a container terminal with a capacity to handle 0.8 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units of containers; widening its entrance of 100 feet by about 10 metres; deepening the depth by two metres to 14 metres to allow mid-size vessels; constructing port buildings; and installing equipment.

“It is a good move by the ChPT to go in for a mid-size terminal. But, we wish the Port authorities take steps to fast track the Chennai Port — Maduravoyal elevated link road as container lorries have to depend on Gate No. 10 opposite the War Memorial. Currently, lorry and freight movements are not allowed during the day time due to VIP movement near that gate,” said a leading exporter.