JSW Infrastructure, the recently-listed entity of the JSW Group, on Thursday said it secured the winning bid for the development of an all-weather, deep-water, and greenfield port at Keni in Karnataka for an estimated cost of Rs 4,119 crore.
The Karnataka Maritime Board, under the state government, has issued a letter of award for the port, which will be constructed with an initial capacity of 30 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), the company said in a statement.
The award came nearly nine months after reports of the company emerging as the sole bidder for the project.
According to sources, four parties were in the pre-bid stage — JSW Infrastructure, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ), Navayuga Engineering Company, and Vishwa Samudra Engineering. Subsequently, APSEZ and JSW Infra qualified for the bidding, but APSEZ chose not to bid. Industry sources said the company currently had a number of ongoing projects which it wants to focus on.
JSW Infra is India’s second largest commercial port company and had its initial public offering in September.
“Once the concession agreement is signed, we will start working to develop the Keni Port as an integral part of the state’s maritime infrastructure & trade gateway,” said Arun Maheshwari, joint managing director and chief executive officer of JSW Infra.
“Through the development of this greenfield port, we are partnering with Karnataka government’s mission to meet the logistics demand of a rapidly growing state and the region’s economy,” said Maheshwari.
“Once developed, the Keni port is expected to crucially address the rising import and export trade momentum of the region,” Maheshwari said.
The proposed port, strategically located between Mormugao Port (Goa) in the north and New Mangalore Port (NMPA) in the south, aims to handle cape-size vessels and cater to industries in the region. It can handle cargo up to 200,000 tonnes.
The Keni Port is expected to primarily capture coal and coke cargo for steel, cement, and power plants, supported by iron ore, limestone, dolomite handling, and export of finished steel products.
According to the Karnataka Maritime Perspective Plan, the state’s hinterland potential is projected to increase from 44 mtpa to 117 mtpa by 2035.
“On comparison to the future demand and the capacity being handled by the present ports, there is a need for a deep draft port to fulfil the cargo handling gap requirement in future. Hence, the concept of alternate port for NMPA has emerged, which aims at development of the Port at Keni,” JSW Infra said.
According to the statement, rail connectivity to the Keni Port site, with an eight-kilometre alignment, is proposed to be on the southern side and will be connected with the existing Konkan line to north of the Ankola Station.