It will operate Berth No. 5 at Kidderpore Dock Complex

A month after Haldia Bulk Terminals, a cargo contractor of Kolkata Port Trust, made a rather messy exit from the Haldia Dock Complex, its parent company ABG InfraLogistics has won a contract for operating a berth at KoPT.

While finalising the decision, the KoPT Board decided that since HBT is a constituent of ABG, the firm (ABG) would be given a conditional letter of intent which would indemnify the KoPT authorities from any action that it might take against HBT.

A senior KoPT official told The Hindu that since the process of blacklisting HBT is now on, ABG would need to brace itself for any impact that might result from this move. On October 31, HBT walked midway through its 10-year contract (awarded in 2009) for operating and mechanising two berths at HDC citing safety of its employees and law and order problems. The matter is now before the Calcutta High Court.

Through Thursday’s decision, ABG has won the contract for operating Berth No. 5 at the Kidderpore Dock Complex of KoPT. In case ABG takes up this job, it would need to invest in setting up mobile harbour cranes and other equipment at the berth. HBT is reported to have installed equipment worth Rs. 140 crore at the two berths at the complex.

HBT is a special purpose vehicle promoted by ABG and LDA of France.

Port officials, however, said that a decision on awarding contracts for a berth in HDC (in which a Tata company is among the bidders) has been put off to mid-December.