MUMBAI : Indian authorities have put out a fresh “request for qualifications” for the operation and management of container and multipurpose cargo facilities at the Chabahar Port in Iran.
The winner will also design, develop, finance, operate, and maintain any other support infrastructure required for the efficient operation of the project, according to a tender notice issued by India Ports Global Ltd (IPGL).
The new process follows the cancellation of a previous tender that had only one pre-qualified bidder - Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone.
IPGL is a 60:40 joint venture between Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and Kandla Port Trust, two Major Ports on West Coast Ports, tasked with handling India’s strategic investments in overseas markets.
“Chabahar Port situated in the Sistan-Baluchistan province on Iran’s Southeastern coast [outside the Persian Gulf] is of great strategic importance for development of regional maritime transit traffic to Afghanistan and Central Asia,” the notice stated. The request for quotation document is available on JNPT’s website, www.jnport.gov.in.
Proposals are expected to be submitted on or before Aug. 18. To spur interest, authorities are reportedly considering a review of previous tender conditions on minimum throughput guarantees and upfront fees in the initial period of operation.
IPGL’s contract with Iranian authorities calls for redevelopment of two container berths with a total quay length of 640 m (about 2,100 ft), equipped with four rail-mounted gantry cranes, 16 rubber-tire gantry cranes, two reach stackers, and two empty handlers; and upgrade of a 600-m multipurpose terminal with six mobile harbor cranes, 10 forklifts and 10 trailers. The refurbished harbor is designed to have a draft of 14 m and a 70-hectare (173 acres) back-up space.
“The construction of both terminals is nearing completion and the process for procuring equipment for the two terminals by IPGL is currently underway,” the company said.
Chabahar is about 550 n miles from Kandla and 790 n miles from Mumbai. That the site would open up a direct seaway access to Iran by bypassing Pakistan, a regional rival, underscores New Delhi’s $500 million investment in the project.
To prepare the groundwork for launch of interim operations, efforts are underway to lease office infrastructure at the site and collaborate with the Shipping Corporation of India to introduce services between India and Chabahar.
For the Adani Group, the new tender presents another opportunity to pursue its goal of transforming from a domestic port operator to a global player.
The company recently struck a deal with Malaysia’s MMC Port Holdings Sdn Bhd to evaluate the feasibility for a greenfield port on Carey Island, about 30 miles Southwest of Kuala Lumpur.