The Kandla Port Trust has canceled a global tender to build and operate its long-planned mega container terminal project, dealing a serious blow to India’s port privatization program.
The decision was made by the KPT board last week after the two pre-qualified bidders — domestic port developer Adani Group and Hyundai Engineering-Concast Infratech Consortium — failed to respond to the port’s request for proposals within the stipulated submission timeline.
“We are not scrapping our plans for the container terminal project. We will now look at restructuring the project to attract more private investors,” a port official said.
An official announcement is expected shortly.
Plans called for the construction of a six-berth deep-water facility at Tuna-Tekra, about 15 miles from the existing port site, offering about 1,050 meters (3,445 feet) of quay, a 21-meter (69-foot) draft and an annual throughput capacity of 4.2 million 20-foot-equivalent units when fully built-out. The public-private partnership project, on a 30-year operating concession, was expected to cost Rs. 5,992 crore (about $989 million).
The planned terminal was one of five large port infrastructure projects that New Delhi committed to fast-tracking in an effort to double container-handling capacity at major state-owned ports. The fast-track list, which was announced by the Ministry of Shipping in February, included a fourth container terminal at Jawaharlal Nehru Port (Nhava Sheva) and new box facilities at the ports of Ennore and Kolkata, as well as a multi-purpose cargo facility at Mumbai Port, requiring a total investment of Rs. 17,630 crore (approximately $2.9 billion).
Kandla is India’s top general cargo handler, having racked up throughput of about 94 million tons in fiscal year 2012-13, which ended March 31, 2013, and 80 million tons from April 2013 through February 2014.