Adani Ac­quires Dhamra Port

5,500-cr deal is the largest in In­dian port sec­tor since Pi­pavav Port

The Economic Times - - News Of The Day -

ARI­JIT BAR­MAN & MEGHA MANDAVIA

nounced.

Dhamra port, one of the deep­est ports in east­ern In­dia, was awarded the rights by the Odisha govern­ment in 2004 to de­velop and op­er­ate for 30 years. The con­tract can be ex­tended for two additional pe­ri­ods of 10 years each. The port com­menced op­er­a­tions in 2011 from two fully mech­a­nized berths ca­pa­ble of han­dling cok­ing coal, steam and ther mal coal, lime­stone and iron ore. In FY14, Dhamra han­dled cargo of 14.3 mil­lion tonne. It also has 63 km of pri­vate rail con­nec­tiv­ity.

Be­ing strate­gi­cally lo­cated to serve the min­eral belt of the east­ern states and in be­tween ri­vals govern­ment-con­trolled Hal­dia and Paradip ports, Dhamra was once con­sid­ered strate­gic for Tata St e e l , c on­sid­er­ing i t s mega Kali­na­gar green­field steel plant is also com­ing up in the same state ADANIPORTS’ FOOTPRIN

T and is due for pro­duc­tion from next fis­cal. But over time, an over­lever­aged bal­ance sheet forced Tata Steel to iden­tify the as­set as non core. In 2012, a for­mal process to sell the com­pany was ini­ti­ated by both Tata and L&T. For months, Dhamra Por t Com­pany was await­ing en­vi­ron­ment and coastal reg­u­la­tion zone clear­ances for the cru­cial sec­ond phase of the port. A fully func­tional Dhamra port will have 13 berths ca­pa­ble of han­dling about 100 mil­lion tonne a year of cargo in­clud­ing dry, liq­uid bulk, con­tainer­ised and other gen­eral cargo. The sec­ond phase of de­vel­op­ment will be­gin within 90 days and com­ple­tion is tar­geted in 30 months, said Adani port ex­ec­u­tives. For Adani, this has been a long, pa­tient wait but it is per­fectly aligned to his as­pi­ra­tions of be­com­ing a large player across both the east and west coasts of the coun­try with a string of pri­vate ports. The Bom­bay Stock Ex­change­listed Adani Ports and SEZ is 75% owned by Adani En­ter­prises, the flag­ship of Adani group. The com­pany owns and op­er­ates five ports, of which three— Da­hej, Hazira and Mun­dra—are in Gu­jarat. The ac­qui­si­tion of Dhamra port will help the com­pany ramp up its ca­pac­ity to over 200 mil­lion tonne by 2020, mak­ing it a leader among pri­vate sec­tor port oper­a­tors in the coun­try. Adani’s fam­ily com­pany also runs a coal load­ing ter­mi­nal at Ab­bot Point in Queens­land in Aus­tralia. “The Dhamra port ac­qui­si­tion now gives us an op­por­tu­nity to repli­cate the de­vel­op­ment and p h e n o menal g rowt h o f the Mun­dra port on the east and, thereby, con­tinue to ex­e­cute on our pan-In­dia strate g y,” said Gau­tam Adani, chair man of Adani group. The race to ac­quire Dhamra had seen many lo­cal and global play­ers line up but Adani Ports and S E Z a lway s h a d t h e e d g e. In­ter­est­ingly, for months now, Ada­nis have been man­ning the port them­selves as “con­sul­tants”. Tata Steel will as­sure Dhamra 5 mil­lion tonne of cargo this year and the min­i­mum as­sured vol­ume will go up ev­ery year as Kalin­gana­gar ramps up.

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