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Transport | May 2011

NMPT to go alone in building terminal

The New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) is planning to construct the proposed container terminal on its own and has dropped the plan of public private partnership (PPP) model. The decision to drop PPP mode was taken by the board of NMPT after the private players backed out of the project citing lower returns.

The private players have backed out of the project as the tariff fixed by the Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) was unremunerative for them. They cannot charge more than the TAMP tariff. Instead, the NMPT has decided to build the container berth through its own funds. It has also decided to float fresh tenders from the private sector for providing infrastructure like cranes and other equipment for handling container cargo separately.
Early last year, the port had shortlisted IL&FS Maritime Infrastructure, Grup Maritime TCI of Spain, Simplex Infrastructure, consortium between Adani Port and Mundra Port & SEZ, Essar Ports & Terminals along with Vadinar Oil Terminal for the Rs 276 crore contract to build a greenfield container terminal on a build operate and transfer basis.

With the change in the mode of construction, the NMPT will build a new berth and invite the private sector to install the necessary infrastructure for handling container cargo. The cost of building the new berth is estimated at Rs 50 crore. According to an official, the port would invite the private players to install the required infrastructure. If nobody comes forward to do it again, it would use the berth for handling other general cargo and continue to handle containers with the existing facility, the official said.

The NMPT board has taken a decision in this regard and would soon approach the ministry of shipping, road transport and highways for permission to go ahead with the changed plan. Once the ministry nod comes, the port would re-estimate the cost of installing equipment for handling container cargo and float tenders afresh, the official said.

The container terminal is designed to have quay length of 300 metres and width of 25 metres with a 14-metre draft. It will be able to handle Panamax container ships capable of carrying over 2,500 TEUs. For the fiscal ended March 2011, the container traffic handled by NMPT has increased by 27.6 per cent to 40,158 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) compared to 31,456 TEUs handled in 2009-10. The growth was mainly on account of improvement in the infrastructure. Arrival of mainline vessels from East and West African countries with raw cashew containers, earlier transshipped mostly at Colombo port. Coffee was the major commodity exported through containers last year. The port witnessed 90 per cent rise in coffee cargo at 6,103 TEUs during the year. This was followed by reefer cargo and fishmeal.

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