JNPA eyes container terminal privatisation within a month

The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA) is planning to complete privatisation of its only self-operated terminal – Jawahar Lal Nehru Container Terminal (JNPCT) – in a month. The authority is awaiting security clearance from the ministry of defence and the ministry of home and once these are received , it will ask the bidders to submit the requests for proposal (RFP).

The last date for submission of RFPs is March 17, which can be extended by a week if the clearance does not come by then. “Our officials are already in Delhi and we expect the clearance to happen by Monday or Tuesday,” a senior official of JNPA told FE.

The privatisation, which is part of National Monetisation Pipeline, has generated keen interest among at least 12 global port operators including, A P M Terminals Management, A P Moller Maersk, D P World, International Cargo Terminals and Infrastructure, QTerminals (Qatar), Abu Dhabi Terminals, Adani Ports and SEZ, and JSW Infrastructure.

JN Port has five terminals of which only one is operated by JNPA. Out of other four terminals, two are operated by Dubai government-owned DP World, and one each by PSA International and APM Terminals Management.

The terminal’s capacity is around 2 million TEU (twenty foot equivalent unit), but it operates at less than 50% of its real capacity due to inefficient and old equipment. “We expect the plant to easily reach to 1.7 to 2 million TEU capacity after the privatisation from its current utilisation of 0.7 million TEU,” a JNPA official said.

Industry experts believe DP World has a big stake in winning the terminal as it already operates two terminals whose contracts are getting over in 2028. The two terminals operated by DP World are – Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal (NSICT) and the Nhava Sheva (India) Gateway Terminal (NSIGT).

“If they do not win JNPCT and fail to renew contracts for the existing terminals at Nhava Sheva, they will be virtually out of JNPA. In the interim losing JNPCT will also mean the winner will take away some traffic that comes to DP World’s current terminals at Nhava Sheva,” an industry expert said. Similarly, JNPCT is seen to be of great interest for Adani group that has a large presence in port sector.

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