Indian move for Dubai Ports

04 October 2002

Dubai Ports International (DPI), the overseas arm of Dubai Ports Authority (DPA), is in negotiations with India's federal and state governments to develop a deepwater container terminal at Gangavaram, located in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh (MEED 26:1:01).

'We are advising the Indian government on establishing the new port,' Jamal Majid bin Thaniah, managing director of DPA, told MEED on 30 September. 'However, we have yet to define the final nature of our role.' A tender competition is underway to appoint an international consultant to design the terminal, which is planned to be built near the existing port of Vishakhapatnam.

The proposed feeder terminal is expected to have the capacity to handle between 300,000-400,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) a year and will serve the eastern coast of India. DPI, in a 26:74 joint venture with India's JM Baxi & Company, already operates Vishakhapatnam.

Dubai is planning to capture a greater share of the transshipment market in the Gulf and Asia by expanding its operating presence through DPI. It has agreements in place to manage port operations in Aden, Jeddah and Djibouti on the East coast of Africa. 'We want to create a network of ports in the region to serve over 1 billion customers,' says Thaniah.

The shipments handled by DPA from Port Rashid and Jebel Ali in the first six months have increased by 13 per cent year-on-year to just over 1.9 million TEUs. DPA expects to break the 4 million-TEUs barrier for the full year and is in the process of increasing Jebel Ali's draught to 16 metres, from 14 metres at present, to allow access for post-Panamax container vessels (MEED 20:6:02).

DPA is also planning to expand the port's breakwater and is preparing to appoint a consultant to carry out a site investigation and geo-technical study for the project. Thaniah says: 'We have spare capacity. However, there is a trigger mechanism in place for expanding the port and if we continue to achieve growth of 500,000 TEUs each year I cannot dismiss the possibility of further expansion.'

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