VOC Port: Vedanta And Abu Dhabi Firms Bid For Rs 7,056 Crore Container Terminal Project

V Bhagya Subhashini

Jul 05, 2024, 03:52 PM | Updated 03:52 PM IST

Representative image.
Representative image.

Vedanta Ltd and a consortium led by Abu Dhabi Ports Company PJSC have submitted initial bids for a tender floated by the state-run V O Chidambaranar Port Authority (VOPCA).

The project aims to build a container terminal with a capacity of 4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in the port's outer harbour, involving an investment of Rs 7,055.95 crore. This development offers a reprieve for the government after top port operators abstained from bidding.

The tender, which attracted little interest from top port operators like Adani Ports, PSA International, JSW Infrastructure, and J M Baxi Ports, saw the VOC Port Authority extend deadlines and relax technical criteria to encourage participation. The final deadline for qualification documents was 28 June.

Concerns over cost estimates for dredging and breakwater construction, prepared by the National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways and Coasts (NTCPWC) at IIT Madras, were raised during a roadshow in March and subsequent pre-bid meetings.

Potential bidders found the estimates unrealistic, leading to calls for either revising the estimates or increasing the viability gap funding to 50 per cent of the project cost, reports Economic Times.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the outer harbour terminal on 28 February. However, the initial lack of enthusiasm from potential bidders suggests significant hurdles remain before the project can move forward.

V O Chidambaranar Port

V O Chidambaranar Port, strategically close to the east-west international sea routes on the southeastern coast, is one of the 12 major ports in India and the second-largest in Tamil Nadu.

The port is an artificial harbour protected by two breakwaters and is connected to deep water by a dredged channel. The port has a handling capacity of around 70 million tonnes per annum with 16 berths, including two container berths.

The port handles major cargoes such as coal, copper concentrate, timber logs, phosphoric acid, rock phosphate, granite stone, salt, wheat sugar, construction materials, pulses, VCM, LPG naphtha, furnace oil, ammonia fertiliser, etc.

V Bhagya Subhashini is a staff writer at Swarajya. She tracks infrastructure developments.

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