MUMBAI: State-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA) has disqualified Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ) from a tender to privatise its shallow water and coastal berths through the public-private-partnership (PPP) route, multiple sources said.
APSEZ has been disqualified, as expected, on the basis of a tender condition that forbids firms involved in contract termination at other ports from participating. A coal handling terminal run by a unit of APSEZ at Visakhapatnam Port Authority was terminated in December 2020, a few years into its 30-year concession.
Invoking this clause, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority disqualified Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone in June from a separate tender to privatise the container handling facility self-run by the port authority.
APSEZ challenged its disqualification from that tender in the Mumbai High Court but lost the case. The firm has now approached the Supreme Court for relief.
JNPA informed APSEZ about its disqualification from the shallow water and coastal berths tender last week, a government official said.
APSEZ’s exclusion leaves four bidders in the fray for the project. These include J M Baxi Ports & Logistics Ltd, JSW Infrastructure Ltd, Bothra Shipping Services Pvt Ltd and a consortium of Yogayatan Ports Pvt Ltd and Man Infraconstruction Ltd.
JNPA is waiting for security clearance from the Centre on Yogayatan Ports-Man Infraconstruction consortium ahead of opening the price bids for the project.
The security clearance for J M Baxi Ports & Logistics, JSW Infrastructure and Bothra Shipping Services are already in place as these bidding groups were granted the clearance earlier while participating in other projects, which will remain valid for a five-year period.
The 4.5 million tonne (mt) a year capacity shallow water berth has a length of 445 metres with a depth of 10 metres, capable of handling container, cement, general cargo and liquid cargo vessels.
The construction of the dedicated berth for coastal shipping was taken up under the ‘Sagarmala’ program of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways to provide a boost to coastal cargo movement.
The coastal berth has the capacity to handle about 2.5 million tonnes of coastal cargo like break bulk, dry bulk etc. The berth has a back-up area of 11 hectares to store cargo. JNPA also plans to set up silos for storage of cement which will enable faster turnaround of vessels.
The coastal berth was completed in November 2020 and trial operations were carried out. The berth will provide better infrastructure for coastal shipping and decongest rail and road networks, ensuring cost-competitive and effective multi-modal transportation solutions.
The construction of the dedicated berth is in line with the government’s policy to promote coastal shipping to shift freight from road to an environment-friendly and cost-effective mode of transport.
The coastal berth will aid smooth and faster coastal movement of cargo through a green channel and help increase the share of coastal shipping in the domestic cargo movement and as well as facilitate the export-import (EXIM) community.
Applications for the projects were invited in a single stage clubbing both the technical and financial bids, unlike other tenders which have a two-stage bidding process – a technical bid followed by a price bid.