Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Rail Nigam, Gopalpur Ports plan SPV for freight corridor

Posted online: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 at 0000 hours IST

GOPALPUR (ORISSA), JAN 23: The Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) and the
Gopalpur Ports Ltd (GPL) will soon set up a special purpose vehicle to
construct a freight corridor to connect mineral-rich areas like Koraput
and Rayagada in Orissa with the port. The 79.15-km corridor between
Gunupur and Theruballi is estimated to cost Rs 400 crore. GPL also plans
to apply for a SEZ status soon for the port project that covers around
2,100 acres.
“Talks with RVNL are in the final stages for the SPV. The SPV could have
other stakeholders like Dubai Aluminium Co (Dubal) as members”, DP
Singh, chairman of GPL, said, adding the financial closure of the line
was expected by June. GPL is also considering entering into a
comprehensive agreement with Dubal by March for the development of the
corridor and the port.

Work on a 130-km-long freight corridor leading to the port was begun by
RVNL in 2004, but due to insufficient traffic and closure of the
Gopalpur port, the corridor remained incomplete.

Singh said GPL already had 629 acres of land and another 1400 acres
would be given to it by the Orissa government in 2 months to set up an
SEZ in the port area. After that, the consortium will apply for an SEZ
status for the multi-product zone which will mostly handle steel, agro
and related products.

“We are seriously thinking of ensuring an SEZ status for the project so
that it could be developed in a big way, and will shortly send the
application to the Orissa government,” Singh said.

GPL has already announced its intention to raise Rs 1,200 crore through
IPO, which is likely later this year. The consortium, comprising Sara
International, Orissa Stevedores and Hong Kong-based Noble, is also in
talks with IIFCL to raise the debt. The remaining Rs 450 crore will be
the equity of GPL for the Rs 1700-crore port project. The port will be
developed into an all-weather port by 2010.

The cargo handling capacity of the port is supposed to be raised to 20
MTPA by 2012


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