Gujarat Pipavav Port awaits extension of concession term

The Gujarat government is “examining” an application filed by Mumbai-listed Gujarat Pipavav Port Ltd seeking approval to extend the concession period of the country’s first private port beyond 2028.

Stating that the proposal submitted by Gujarat Pipavav Port was “under examination”, a Gujarat government official said that an extension of the concession period beyond the 30 years “can be possible on mutually agreed terms and conditions which is yet to be decided”.

APM Terminals Management B V, the container port operating unit of Danish shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk Group A/S, holds a majority 43.01 per cent stake in Gujarat Pipavav Port, one of the two listed port companies in India.

The extension of the concession is key to Pipavav’s expansion plans.

The board of Gujarat Pipavav Port has approved a 700-crore plan that involves upgrading existing facilities for handling bigger ships and increasing the container capacity to 1.6 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from 1.35 million TEUs.

“With this investment, we aim to strengthen our network and continue to provide best in-class services to all our stakeholders. However, we are awaiting the confirmation of concession extension from the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) to execute the expansion plan. The container yard capacity will be expanded once the cargo growth is visible post commissioning of the dedicated freight corridor (DFC),” said Jakob Friis Sorenson, Managing Director, Gujarat Pipavav Port.

The GMB is tasked with the oversight of ports owned by the State government.

The expansion includes replacement of three existing cranes with four new cranes with a wider outreach and progressive increase in container yard capacity to 1.6 million TEUs. It also includes purchase of two yard cranes.

The supply chain and inland logistics is expected to significantly improve the reliability and reduce transit time going forward with the implementation of Western Dedicated Freight Corridor. This will improve overall cargo volume for imports and exports, Sorensen said.

About 40 per cent of the total investments in entire 1,535 km of DFC is likely to be in Gujarat, which has around 37 per cent of area covered of completed stretch.