Calcutta, Aug. 24: The Calcutta Port Trust (CPT) may allow relaxed terms for the new contractor proposing to take up mechanised cargo handling at the two Haldia berths vacated by ABG group firm last year.
“We are working on a new set of terms so that the port gets a better rate in the forthcoming tender which should come up at most within two months,” CPT chairman R.P.S. Kahlon said.
Among the options being considered are allowing the new operator to use old mobile harbour cranes or reducing the duration of the contract from 10 years to 7-8 years.
The CPT chairman declined to give the details but said the new terms had to be vetted by the legal team.
The CPT is embroiled in an arbitration with Haldia Bulk Terminals (HBT), the ABG associate, seeking compensation for giving up on the 10-year contract.
Any change in the terms of the tender may affect the port’s ability to claim damages from HBT.
The CPT has also initiated an internal study to finalise the reserve price which was earlier estimated at around Rs 122 a tonne.
“It was based on old estimates. We need to spruce it up. Moreover, the CPT is also trying to reduce the capital cost of the new operator, hoping that the new rate will be lower and meet the port’s own estimate,” a CPT official said.
The CPT has floated a tender twice in the last 10 months after HBT’s exit in October 2012 but failed to get an attractive rate.
The port cancelled the last tender where a consortium of Orissa Stevedors Ltd (OSL) and the IRC Enterprise made the lowest bid to carry out cargo operation by mobile harbour cranes in May this year. The consortium has taken the port to the court on the matter.
The OSL-IRC consortium had quoted around Rs 175 a tonne to handle the cargo compared with the CPT’s own estimate of Rs 122 a tonne. HBT used to do the work at Rs 75 a tonne.