DP World bids on Indian port

DP World is hoping to win a contract to build and operate a $200 million facility to expand India's largest container port.

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MUMBAI // DP World is hoping to win a contract to build and operate a US$200 million (Dh734.6m) facility to expand India's largest container port.

"New port capacity is critical to [India's] economy over the next few years," said Anil Singh, the senior vice president and managing director of DP World in the subcontinent on Thursday.

The contract would be to build a container loading facility at Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai. DP World already operates a container terminal at the port.

DP World, based in Dubai, has invested substantially in India to capitalise on its economic and foreign trade growth of recent years and is the largest container terminal operator in the country.

Jawaharlal Nehru Port "is India's largest trade gateway and new port capacity is most essential here," said Mr Singh. "We have submitted our bid for the ... project and eagerly await the project to be awarded."

The firm is the sole bidder for the contract in a bidding process that has closed. DP World would invest in developing the facility and would pay royalties to the authorities once the facility becomes operational should it be awarded the contract.

"India needs more ports," an industry source who spoke on condition of anonymity said. "The port is full and ships are waiting. If you have got no capacity to load and unload ships then it is affecting the commerce of this country. Because of the litigation and the system and the bureaucracy in India nothing gets done. There is not enough money to be able to sustain development of ports. Infrastructure development is something that is badly needed."

DP World's other operations in India include facilities in Gujarat and Chennai. It also opened a terminal in Kerala last year.

That terminal has struggled since it opened in February 2011 because DP World was awaiting a relaxation to the shipping law to allow foreign ships to be able to transport container cargo to and from its Vallarpadam terminal in Kochi, Kerala. Last month, the Indian government eased the law to allow such shipments to take place for an initial period of three years.

DP World has reported a 7.5 per cent increase in the volume of containers it handled in the first half of the year, citing the Asia Pacific and Indian subcontinent as the main driver of the growth, with the area experiencing a 12.1 per cent increase in volume.