Bangalore-headquartered infrastructure major GMR Group has completed initial studies on setting up a large port in the backyard of Kakinada Special Economic Zone (KSEZ) on Andhra seacoast.
" We expect to go for public hearing on port project in the next 4-6 months,"a company source told Business Standard.
After making a name for itself in building modern airports in India and broad, the GMR group is entering the seaports business very first time by planning to develop a very modern green-field port. It will have facilities to meet the needs of all types of cargo handling, including the container cargo, and also proposes to ensure a congestion-free access and connectivity for the export and import operations, according to sources.
Though the move is immediately linked to the prospective development of the 10,500-acre KSEZ, a multi-product industrial hub being promoted by the GMR, it also comes on the back of the increased opportunities being anticipated in the domestic seaport sector .
The GMR proposes to develop the port in 2,100 acres out of the 10,500 acres available with KSEZ, at an investment of around Rs 2,500 crore, sources said. It will become the most modern cargo hub on the eastern coast once completed, according to them.
"The company is looking at building the port project in three years time after the public hearing is over,"said a GMR official, who did not wish to be identified for the story.
The location identified for the port comes with a 7-km long coast line and will have a potential to accommodate very large cargo vessels after it would be deepened by 22 meters, according the company sources. The location of the new port is 30 km away from the existing Kakinada port.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's recent announcement that the Kakinada region will be developed into an electronic manufacturing hub and also his promise to revive the sops to SEZs are expected to give an impetus to the company's projects in Kakinada. The SEZ project also has a flexibility to accommodate the manufacturing operations in the domestic tariff areas, according to the company officials.
Meanwhile, the company is also discussing with several big companies for establishing a refinery project originally envisaged with a 15 MMTPA capacity in the KSEZ while the port and the SEZ development activities will be taken up simultaneously, according to them.
It may be recalled that the GMR group had acquired majority stake in KSEZ Private Limited in 2010. The industrial park project was proposed to house a refinery project along with other down stream industries in the light of the ongoing oil and gas exploration and production activities in the Krishna-Godavari basin.
Currently there are four ports functioning across the Andhra sea cost while Government of India had recently announced a second public sector port to AP. However, no existing port has such a large extent of land available for the development of industries contiguous to the port facility as it has available for the proposed KSEZ port, according to the company officials.
GMR had already made large investments in this region by setting up gas-based power projects. It had even moved its barge-mounted gas-power plant to Kakinda from Mangalore after the Reliance Industries began natural gas production in KG D6 block.
Following the bifurcation, the government of the residuary Andhra Pradesh is largely focusing on Kakinada and other coastal areas in the state to promote industries as well as the port-based economy.