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Vizhinjam invites fresh bids for port operator (Dec.)


Business Line, Delhi, Thursday 5th December 2013

The Vizhinjam seaport project near here seems to have set sail yet again with the Kerala Government floating two crucial tenders one after the other on Wednesday.

This comes in the wake of an expert appraisal committee recommending conditional go-ahead for environmental clearance for the Rs 4,000-crore project.

A final all-clear from the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment is now a formality, according to Kerala Government sources.

The long-drawn project has had a chequered ‘tendering’ history with three earlier rounds having failed to reach a logical conclusion.

The last time, Welspun Infratech became the sole bidder after the Ministry of Home Affairs ruled against a rival bid put in by Adani Ports. Promoter Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd has now issued a fresh request for qualification to develop the port.

An engineering, procurement and construction bid for a contractor for the breakwater component of the project has also been floated.

The project is being developed on the landlord port model, wherein the State Government will lay the infrastructure and the operator will set up the port superstructure.

The selected bidder shall be responsible for designing, engineering, financing, procurement, construction, operation and maintenance of the project. The first of the two-stage selection process involves qualification of interested parties from among the applicants.

From this, up to nine prequalified names will be shortlisted for the second stage (bid stage), comprising request for proposals. Here, bidders will be asked to submit a financial offer.

Bids will be invited on the basis of the lowest financial grant required by a bidder. A bidder may also offer to pay a premium in the form of revenue share and/or upfront payment. The grant/premium amount shall constitute the sole criterion for evaluation of bids.

Highest premium

The project will be awarded to the bidder quoting the highest premium, and in the event that no bidder offers a premium, then to the bidder seeking the lowest grant.

Meanwhile, interest shown by the Defence Ministry is expected to add investor appeal for the project, said K. Babu, the State’s Minister for Ports.

The Union Ministry proposes to set up facilities at the proposed port, given its strategic location. The Navy and the Coast Guard have each sought a berth at Vizhinjam.

The lone amphibious brigade of the Army also is stationed here.