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The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT)’s long-pending dredging project, which seeks to deepen the main channel between Mumbai harbour and the JN Port, has received the lowest bid from Dutch company Royal Boskalis Westminster NV, at Rs 1,220 crore.
The project had received bids from two other Dutch companies, Jan de Nul NV and Van Oord Dredging, and the South Korea-based Hyundai Engineering and Construction.
“We have got a very good deal as the price quoted by Royal Boskalis is below our estimated cost,” said L Radhakrishnan, chairman of JNPT. While the total estimated cost of the project was Rs 1,571 crore, the dredging component was estimated to be at Rs 1,230.5 crore by the port trust.
The port will sign a 25-month contract for the project, which aims to increase the draught of the JNPT’s channel from 11.5 metres to 14 metres. This would help in accommodating vessels of over 6,000 twenty-foot equivalent units capacity and up to 12-metre draught vessels at all states of tide.
The cabinet committee on infrastructure cleared the project on March 1. The government had approved the overall estimate of Rs 800 crore for the project in September 2005. Ever since, the port has not been able to implement this project, which is considered crucial for the success of the upcoming fourth container terminal at the JN Port.
In response to a global tender issued at that time, JNPT got the lowest offer at Rs 1,055 crore, 20 per cent over the estimated cost of Rs 800 crore.
The Cabinet later revised the cost estimate to Rs 1,571.6 crore and then reissued the tender. The three new items behind the cost escalation were: fuel price escalation, levy of customs duty on import of dredges and likely assured depth premium.
As per the dimensions, length of the channel is to be increased from 29 km to 33.54 km and width from the existing minimum 325 metres to 370 metres for straight reach, and maintained 450 metres at the banks of the channel as it exists.
The ministry of environment and forests granted the environment clearance for the project in March 2004. Due to the delay in implementation, the ministry extended the environment clearance for the project by another five years from March 18, 2009.