Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Dubai World to invest in Kulpi port


KOLKATA: Amid the upsurge in violence over land acquisition in Kolkata
for big-ticket industrial ventures and SEZs, efforts are underway at the
highest levels of the West Bengal government to ensure the Rs
2,600-crore Kulpi minor port (including the adjacent SEZ complex) sees
the light of the day.

Dubai World chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem reaffirmed his investment
commitment after discussing the project with West Bengal chief minister
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. “Investment for the Kulpi port and SEZ has been
pegged at Rs 2,600 crore.

The SEZ and the port will be spread over 3,000 acres. About 300 acres
will be used for the port and allied back-up facilities and 2,700 acres
for the SEZ,” said Mr Bhattacharjee after meeting Mr Sulayem. Dubai
World is the holding company of Dubai Port World (DP World). DP World
holds 44.5% in Bengal Port (BPL), the company that will execute the
Kulpi minor port/SEZ project.

City-based Keventer Group holds another 44.5% in BPL while the balance
11% is held by WBIDC. Dubai World manages and supervises businesses and
project portfolios for the Dubai government.

Zero date for the Kulpi project remains undecided as the detailed
project report (DPR) is awaiting state government approval. “We want
project work to start soon,” said Mr Bhattacharjee.

According to Dubai World officials, talks revolved around current and
future investment in various infrastructure developments, including the
Kulpi port project.

Mr Bhattacharjee also added that Dubai World is exploring the
possibility of entering the hospitality sector. He, however, clarified
that details are yet to be firmed up. “It could be at the Cinchona
plantations or near tea gardens in North Bengal. Dubai World is yet to
take any decision,” he said.

According to Dubai World officials, the Kulpi Port will include
all-weather port facilities, a ship-breaking yard and an industrial
park, all rolled into a single hub. The marine terminal will have a
450-metre quay and handling capacity of 6.5 lakh TEUs. The first phase
of the port development will be completed at the end of 2009.

“When completed, the port and the SEZ will provide much-needed
infrastructure support and will generate 45,000 new jobs. We envisage
that Kulpi port will be a gateway for East India providing DP World’s
customers with new, innovative and efficient trade routes,” said Mr

On his two-day visit to Kolkata, Mr Bin Sulayem and his team toured the
proposed Kulpi port site and visited the hill-station of Darjeeling to
identify potential growth areas.

With him were senior DP World officials including Mohammed Sharaf, CEO,
Anil Wats, COO, and Ganesh Raj, senior vice president and managing director


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