Essar Ports and Shapoorji Pallonji are among the corporate entities that have evinced interest in developing Odisha’s first river port on the mouth of the Mahanadi.
The state government has begun its hunt for developers who would agree to work on the project, estimated to cost Rs 2,110 crore. For this, the state has issued the request for qualification (RFQ) for the project and will organise a pre-bid conference on June 12.
“The pre-bid conference is designed to address the queries of prospective bidders. The riverine port can either be captive or commercial, depending on the developer. This port has a lot of potential, despite being planned in the vicinity of the Paradip port, which mostly handles bulk cargo”, said a source close to the devleopment.
The riverine port project is planned on the Mahanadi river at Akhadasali village in the Kendrapada district. It will be based on a public-private partnership (PPP) model. The port’s cargo potential is pegged at 44 million tonne per annum (mtpa). However, in the first phase capacity would stand at 18 mtpa.
Implementation is supposed to follow a build, own, operate, share and transfer (BOOST) model, wherein land would be leased out to the concessionaire by the appropriate authority. Lease charges would be in accordance with the notification of the authority and this is proposed to be spelt out in the draft concessionaire agreement.
Selected developers would to begin construction work that would entail building of container yard, terminal buildings, cargo handling equipment, construction of berths and facilities for cargo storage. Selected entities would also be responsible for operations and maintenance of the port.
Applicants need to have a minimum net worth of Rs 600 crore at the close of the preceding financial year. In case of a consortium, the combined technical capacity and net worth of those members, who have and continue to have an equity share of at least 26 per cent each in the special purpose vehicle (SPV), are required to hold their stake for two years from the date of commercial operations of the port.
The riverine port has been envisioned as a common user port for different industries. It is modeled on a similar port built on the Tapti river mouth in Gujarat.
Earlier, the Odisha government had entered into an agreement with Kolkata-based Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS), a premier consultancy organization for developing the first riverine port in the state. WAPCOS has done the techno-economic feasibility study for the proposed port.