The government of Kerala State in India and Gujarat-based Adani Group has signed the work contract agreement for development of the Rs 7,525-crore ($12 billion) Vizhinjam International Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport.
On July 15, 2105, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) had received 'Letter of Award' from Fisheries & Ports (E) Department, government of Kerala, for development and operation/maintenance of the Vizhinjam International Deepwater Seaport Project on public-private partnership mode on Design, Build, and Finance Operate & Transfer (DBFOT) basis.
The Group has started forming the team that will manage the port project at Vizhinjam and aims to have the port ready in 1,000 days with construction starting this November, the group chairman, Gautam Adani said
"We will make Vizhinjam one of the world's largest mega transhipment container terminals. Vizhinjam is our 8th port in India. We have already initiated the planning and engineering work on this project. We promised to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy that we will kick off the construction on November 1, 2015, the Kerala foundation day. Our objective is to make the port operational in a record time of less than 1,000 days," Adani said.
The project was conceived over 25 years ago but had failed to take off as three rounds of prior bidding got no commitment from any serious developer.
"I congratulate the government of Kerala for this bold step of awarding the project to the Adani Group in spite of the bidding process resulting in just one bid," said Adani.
Adani said the group has appointed Santosh Kumar Mahapatra, director of Adani's Dhamra port project as the CEO of the Vizhinjam project. He added it will employ majority of the workforce from the state and ensure that his group will make it the "world's largest mega transshipment container terminal.
The MoU was signed by Kerala Principal Secretary (Ports) James Varghese and Adani Vizhinjam Port Private Ltd CEO Santosh Kumar Mahopatra in the presence of state Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Gautam Adani.
Speaking at the function, Chief Minister Chandy said, "Government will not allow anything to adversly affect the life of people in the project area" in an assurance to the fishermen community who had expressed concerns over their rehabilitation."
The project is to be implemented in three phases. As per the agreement, the first phase need be completed only in four years’ time. Once commissioned, the port will be able to handle cargo vessels of 18,000 TEU.