GUWAHATI: The operation and management (O&M) of Pandu and Dhubri Ports will now involve a private operator to optimise the terminals and enhance cargo movement on National Waterway-2 and Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) routes.
Announcing this on Thursday, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), the key agency overseeing inland waterways in India under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, informed that this Public Private Partnership (PPP) model is expected to create opportunities for at least 73,000 man-days of employment each year during its tenure.
“Let me first clarify that neither Pandu nor Dhubri ports were privatised. We have only engaged a specialist contractor who will be operating and managing the cargo from both the ports. The contractor was selected through due process of law through competitive national bidding basis. Also, before tendering these terminals for O&M, a detailed study was also carried out to decide a suitable and most appropriate transaction model,” said Regional Director (Pandu), A Selvakumar.
Stating that the primary objective is to amplify cargo exports from Assam and the Northeast to Bangladesh and South Asia, the statement added that the IWAI’s target is to achieve export of 3 million MT cargo from Dhubri and Pandu ports within the first two years, compared to the existing 0.5 million MT.
This PPP model promises to introduce global best practices, paving the way for significant trade enhancement at Pandu and Dhubri ports, the statement read. The charges for cargo loading and unloading were established in collaboration with stakeholders, incorporating rates that encompass advanced mechanical handling equipment to bolster efficiency in terminal operations.
“Operators who fail to meet mutually agreed cargo volume targets will face financial penalties and potential contract duration reductions,” the statement read, adding that this approach has already proven successful in other ports, such as GR Jetty in Kolkata and Haldia Terminal.