The nation's largest container port JNPT is planning to host an edible oil refinery to maximise revenue and ensure captive cargo, a top port official said Monday.
The state-run port already has a liquid cargo terminal in addition to the four container terminals off the city's east coast.
"We have received an expression of interest from edible oil players for setting up a refinery on our land. It is a good way to earn revenue by giving out our land for the same," acting chairman Neeraj Bansal told reporters.
He said the land will be leased out on a long-term basis and it will also be beneficial for the port as it will give it captive cargo.
The raw material for the refinery will be imported from abroad and a considerable part of the finished products will be sent out through the sea, Bansal said, pointing to the cargo possibilities that come along with a port.
Port sources said a six-acre plot has already been identified for the refinery project.
Bansal said the port is also investing Rs 310 crore for extending the liquid cargo tank farm which will increase its capacity to 4.5 mtpa.
The port is also coming up with a tender this week to bid out large land parcels at the adjoining special economic zone (SEZ), the chairman said, adding the land parcel will be over 285 acre and winning bidders will have to give a commitment to employ at least 12,000 people on it.
There has been intense speculation if contract mobile phone manufacturer Foxconn will opt for setting up base at the port's SEZ. However, Bansal refused to comment directly when asked about it, saying all the entities will have to bid for the plot.
Explaining that government has allowed major ports to deploy its excess funds for operational assets rather than earn interest by depositing those with banks, Bansal said JNPT, which had cash and equivalent of over Rs 3,800 crore, has also drawn its plans including buying assets.
The port has put in its expression of interest to acquire the financially troubled Dighi Port, which is undergoing resolution through the NCLT process, Bansal said.
According to sources, private port operators Adani Ports and JSW Ports are also interested in the asset.
Bansal said the port is also looking to acquire rights to develop Revas and Vijaydurg ports from the existing concession holders who are yet to begin construction.
He said Vijaydurg in south Konkan coast is a particularly important port because of the upcoming mega oil refinery in close proximity.
"We do not have any waterfront left at the port to increase capacity and therefore we are looking at various other options," he said.
On plans to develop offshore satellite port at Wadhavan, Bansal acknowledged that there are a few environmental concerns and added that the port, in association with the state government, is looking to mitigate those so that the development can go through.
Bansal claimed the work done by the port has plated an important role in upping India's rank in the ease of doing business ranking to 77 from 100.
He pointed out that the country's ranking in trading across borders has jumped to 80 from 146 earlier, which is largely due to the work being done by the port as it is container movement which the World Bank uses for its rankings.
The port is working on projects worth over Rs 5,000 crore at present to ease operations internally, including an 8-lane road, multiple flyovers at junctions and also a Rs 200 -crore centralised parking plaza.