Adani Group emerges as top bidder to operate Haldia Dock, marks entry into Bengal

Gujarat based Adani Group is all prepped up to set foot in Bengal’s maritime sector, as it emerges as the top bidder for the rights to operate a berth at Haldia Dock Complex.

The scope of work at the complex includes the provision of end-to-end mechanisation at the berth which must be ready in two years from the date that the port authorities award the contract.

Entailing an investment of INR 300 crore, the berth once ready will be able to handle 3.5- 4 million tonnes of cargo per annum.

If all goes well, this will not only strengthen the dominance of Adani Group in the port sector but also mark the group’s foray into the port and shipping arena in the state of Bengal.

The group’s port business which is run by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ) has a presence across 13 domestic ports in seven maritime states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Odisha.

On materialising of the project, Bengal will be yet another state added to the long list.

Vinit Kumar, chairman of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee (SMP), Calcutta, which manages port operations at Calcutta and Haldia, while confirming Adani Group’s emergence as the highest bidder for the end-to-end mechanisation of berth number 2 at Haldia, informed that the concession will be given for 30 years as per terms of the tender.

As part of the National Infrastructure Pipeline, launched by the Narendra Modi government in 2019, the port will be identified and developed in partnership with the private sector.

As per the sources, the entry of India’s largest port operator is likely to change the dynamics of cargo handling business at Haldia Dock Complex, which handles coal, iron ore and petroleum products more than any other cargo.

So far the local players were in control of the majority of the trade with an iron fist, staving off challenges from pan-India businesses.

The step to introduce end-to-end mechanisation at the Haldia terminal will make it one of the most efficient berths. The cargo will be unloaded by mobile harbour cranes to a conveyor belt to the stockyard. A stacker-reclaimer will be used to lift the cargo onto another conveyor which will take the material to a rapid loading system.

This rapid loading system, which is introduced for the very first time in Haldia, will help load an entire railway rake in two hours flat. At present, dumpers are used to load the rakes.

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