The fourth terminal was one of the key projects to be awarded in 2010-11, but was delayed owing to court cases filed against the bidding process. APM Terminals, which operates a terminal at JNP, had challenged the port’s decision not to allow APM bid for the fourth one.
In May, APMT won the right to bid on the new terminal but after receiving the tender document, it became worried that costs to build the two-phase terminal had increased beyond the concession’s financial feasibility and withdrew its bid.
The new terminal project has been hampered by controversy and the port has been plagued by congestion as its terminals operate past their maximum design capacity. A project to deepen navigation channels to the port, enabling larger and more fully laden container vessels to call the key gateway, has also been delayed.
Increasingly container cargo destined to and from Northern India has been moving through the Gujarati ports, as the congestion in Jawaharlal Nehru Port has limited the available berthing windows and capped the container cargo traffic flowing through it.
Part of the delay had been over issues in awarding the project to ABG, a minority partner in the PSA-ABG consortium, which also operates a container terminal at Kandla port in Gujarat, where the volumes have not been impressive. While Kandla port officials blame ABG for the performance, the operator cites a shallow channel depth constrained by tidal windows as the main problems.
However, these issues have now been overcome and it is understood that ABG will have a 26% interest in the JNPT project, with the majority 74% residing with PSA.
The fourth terminal is expected to double JNPT’s existing 4m teu capacity to around 8m teu.