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Just over three weeks after the pullout of ABG Haldia Bulk Terminals (HBT), the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) will kickstart the re-tendering process of berth numbers 2 and 8 at the Haldia Dock Complex by holding a pre-bid meeting on Wednesday. According to sources, the entire bidding process will take at least six to eight months' time.
HBT — a joint venture between ABG Infralogistics and French Louis Dreyfus Armateurs — had pulled out of its operations at these berths breaking a 10-year-contract (2010-20) on October 31, citing law and order issues and alleging vested interests from port authorities. The port acting chairman Manish Jain confirmed that the meet would be held at Haldia on Wednesday.
“We are holding it there as it may help bidders to have a first-hand view of the location. The entire bidding process will take at least six to eight months to complete. The price bid submission date is kept as December 3. We will issue the letter of intent by December or January only,” said D Nayak, manager (shipping), HDC. However, the port has not kept any reserve price.
The port authorities are expecting a new firm to take charge of the berths by March next year. However, for the time being, it may bring in Tata Martrade International Logistics Ltd (TMIL) to use their mobile harbour crane at berth number 12 to berth number 13 also, where the cargo for HBT terminals will be diverted
After the pullout, the port had initiated the process of blacklisting HBT and also encashing a performance guarantee of Rs 4 crore by the firm.
“The bidding process is being held in Haldia, where the firms from outside will be reluctant to go. Moreover, they should keep a reserve price, which is close to the HBT rate of Rs 75 per tonne for cargo handling, which would be useful for the port,” said a leader of Haldia Dock Officers’ Forum.