SCI to build country’s largest container terminals

July 24th, 2008 - 8:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, July 24 (IANS) Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) Ltd, India’s shipping major, will build two of the country’s largest container terminals - one each at Navi Mumbai and Ennore ports - said a top company official here Thursday. The Navi Mumbai port is managed by the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust(JNPT).

“We are planning to set up a fourth terminal in JNPT and a container terminal at Ennore, each having a capacity of four million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). These will be the largest terminals in the country,” said S. Hajara, chairman and managing director of SCI on the sidelines of logistics colloquium organised by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

At present, three terminals each of both JNPT and Ennore together have capacity of four million TEUs.

SCI plans to set up the terminals through a joint venture consortium with partners such as Mediterranean Shipping Company, Concor, and CWC. SCI would have a participatory stake in this joint venture.

“We are actively looking at greater participation in the feeder routes both to west and to east,” he said.

“We are also very actively looking at the possibility of getting involved in inland container depots and container freight stations (ICD/CFS),” Hajara added.

Hajara said SCI was cash-rich and had “Rs.20 billion hard cash at hand.” For this reason, he said “SCI will be interested in getting involved in more than one ship building project in India. We are looking very seriously at both Indian and foreign partners. We are making due diligence for a couple of projects and hopefully within one year we will be to tell whether we are joining any project or not.”

Regarding SCI’s ship acquisition plans, he said, “We have plans to buy 70 vessels by 2010 for an investment of $5 billion.”

Of these 70 vessels, SCI has already placed orders for 28 ships for an investment of $1.6 billion. It is likely to place orders for another four ships in the first week of August, he said.

“In October, one very-large crude carrier (VLCC) of 319,000 TEU capacity and two container vessels of 4,400 TEU capacity each would be delivered to SCI,” Hajara said.

SCI expects that all these orders would be delivered by 2014 which would help it to double its capacity from around 5 million deadweight tonnes (DWT) at present to 10 million DWT in 2014.

He said SCI and Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) have signed a memorandum of understanding for floating a joint-venture project which would allow SAIL to run its own fleet of vessels for importing coking coal.

It would be a public-private-partnership project, where both SCI and SAIL would have 25 percent stake each and the rest would be with the private partners. The two companies have not yet decided on who would be the private players, Hajara said.

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