Adani Ports Emerges as Sole Bidder for Contract to Operate Kolkata Port Berths

India’s largest private port operator, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd. (APSEZ), is set to receive a five-year operation and maintenance (O&M) contract for handling containers at Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Authority (formerly Kolkata Port Trust’s Netaji Subhas Dock). As the sole bidder, APSEZ offered a competitive price of approximately Rs 2,100 per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU), staying within the ceiling rate set by the port authority.

Increasing Presence and Expansion for Adani Ports: This contract not only allows APSEZ to secure container handling operations at the eastern coast port but also helps the company expand its presence at the port. By winning the O&M contract, APSEZ can further consolidate its position in the Indian port sector.

Transparency in Bidding Process: The bidding process for the O&M contract at Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Authority required private companies to submit their quotes, with the lowest responsible bidder (LRB) being awarded the contract. With APSEZ providing the lowest quote within the ceiling fee set by the port authority, they emerged as the successful bidder.

New Terms and Equipment Investments: Under the five-year contract, the port authorities will pay APSEZ as per the agreed terms in the O&M contract. Additionally, the private operator will have to invest around Rs 5.69 billion (exclusive of GST) in building the necessary equipment. This includes 35 tractor trailers (TT), 3 Rubber Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTG), 12 Reach Stackers (RST), and 4 Mobile Harbour Cranes (MHCs) which must be available around-the-clock. Furthermore, two reserve MHCs will also be required.

Additional Arrangements for Efficient Operations: To facilitate container processing, the port authorities will provide one non-MHC berth along with four berths for MHC operations. Furthermore, there is a possibility that the private operator will need to handle geared vessels in the MHC berths as well. These arrangements aim to enhance efficiency and streamline container handling processes.

Transition from Bharat Kolkata Container Terminals With the expiry of the existing ten-year contract held by Bharat Kolkata Container Terminals Pvt Ltd, another private operator, APSEZ is expected to take over the five berths in November. The new operator, APSEZ, will be responsible for managing Berths 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 at NSD, while Bharat Kolkata Container Terminals will continue to handle Berths 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8.

A Public Private Partnership for Further Development: Simultaneously, Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Authority has published a public-private partnership (PPP) tender for the privatization of NSD Berths 7 and 8, as well as a 25-acre backup area. This PPP will grant a 30-year lease to the selected entity, aiming to handle approximately 5 lakh TEUs. APSEZ’s second terminal at the port will also be involved in this O&M deal, thus potentially solidifying further partnership opportunities.

APSEZ’s Track Record and Expansion Ventures: It is important to note that APSEZ has been actively expanding its operations in recent years. In 2023, the company secured a 30-year contract to mechanize Berth No. 2 at Haldia Dock, investing Rs 2.98 billion to handle 3.744 million tonnes of dry bulk cargo. The new O&M contract at Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Authority, along with the ongoing projects, will significantly contribute to APSEZ’s continued growth and solid positioning in the Indian port industry. In conclusion, APSEZ’s successful bidding and forthcoming award of the O&M contract for Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Authority further illustrate the company’s dominance in the port sector in India. The contract allows APSEZ to increase its presence at the port, providing it with valuable opportunities for expansion and partnerships. The transparent bidding process and specified equipment investments highlights the measures taken to ensure efficiency and optimal operations. The transition from Bharat Kolkata Container Terminals will mark a new phase for APSEZ’s involvement at the port, while the simultaneous PPP tender opens doors for even more growth. With its track record and ongoing expansion ventures, APSEZ is poised for continuous success and a significant contribution to the Indian port industry.

Aayush Kukreja Apart from being a literature student and a theatre practitioner, Aayush is a daydreamer! He loves poetry and just as a poet should be, he’s witty, opinionated and completely clueless about life. Reach out to him anytime for some good old sher-o-shayari. Here, he writes about the quirkiest and the most interesting of things. To the rhythm of life and words, cheers!
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