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Shipping ministry to take over Vijaydurg Port

Tuesday, 16 January 2018 | 00:00

Ministry of Shipping is working towards taking over Vijaydurg Port project from the Maharashtra government and linking it with country’s biggest oil refinery-cum-petrochemicals complex to be built at an estimated cost of Rs 2 lakh crore.

In 2016, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) had signed a pact to build a coastal refinery-cum-petrochemicals complex at Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra.

“In the years to come, Maharashtra will have four new ports – new container terminal at Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Wadhwan, Rewas and Vijaydurg,” said shipping minister Nitin Gadkari.

In 2008, the Maharashtra government through Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) had granted the contract for a greenfield port at Vijaydurg to Rajeev Chandrasekhar-founded Jupiter Capital on a build-own-operate-transfer-basis.

Later, Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL)-owned Privilege Hitech was also roped in as a strategic investor for the project.

As per the ongoing development, a new special purpose vehicle will be floated in another six months, with 76% stake being shared equally among Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) and Mormugao Port Trust (MPT). The balance 24% will be held by MMB.

Tata Consulting Engineers has been appointed to conduct a techno-economic feasibility study.

“Port will be developed on a landlord port model-basis by the Union government and will primarily handle petroleum, oil and lubricant (POL) cargo of 100 million tonne (60 mt imports, 40 mt exports). Some bulk cargo too will be handled by the port,” a port official told DNA Money. Bulk cargo will include bauxite, mango, molasses, coconut, etc.

Under the landlord port model, a project is designed to decrease investment cost for private port operators, making it attractive for them. Instead of the port providing both commercial and regulatory functions, the private sector is invited to set up and operate commercial facilities while the port authorities continue to own the land and basic infrastructure assets as well as discharge their regulatory functions.

Another official said that though the Ministry of Shipping will take over the project, at the moment, it is unknown what would be the role of the existing concessionaire tied up with the state government.

The ground work for over 2,000-acre port may commence by the end of 2019 to time it along with the refinery-cum-petrochemicals complex completion slated for 2022. Of the 2,000 acres, 1,200 acre is consolidated and available to a few firms and individuals, thereby making it easier to acquire land for the port project.

For years now, Wadhwan Port has been on the drawing board and has seen stiff opposition from the locals at Dahanu. On the other hand, the government has initiated the process to take back Rewas Port from Reliance Group’s Reliance Logistics & Ports. In the next few weeks, fourth container terminal project at JN Port is scheduled for inauguration.
Source: DNA India

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