Friday, 3 July 2009

Industry Snapshots

New Zealand prisoners to be housed in shipping containers, reports the NZ Herald. The development comes as a row develops over privatising prisons in the country, causing plans to double bunk prisoners in jails to be stalemated. About a thousand prisoners were to be double bunked, but a prison officer’s Union has opposed the move, saying it wants the government to halt its privatisation plans first. The cost of converting shipping containers as cells in existing prisons is about $53,000 to $63,000 per bed; a new prison would cost $372,000 per bed.

Visakhapatnam Container Terminal Pvt Ltd to cross one lakh TEU mark soon, says Capt Sriram Ravi Chander, Chief Operating Officer. VCTPL handled 90,000 TEU in the last financial year, he said at a press conference, adding that it would cross the one lakh mark this fiscal year. Capt. Chander expressed satisfaction at the 25% growth rate experienced “in spite of the economic recession”. The six year old terminal is a JV between DP World and United Liner Agencies Pvt Ltd. The COO expects the terminal to touch the half million TEU mark in three years or so and “from then on there will be no looking back”.

Two billion dollars may be invested in the Indian maritime and logistics sector by Venture Capitalists and Private Equity, reports Siliconindia; Assocham and Deloitte quote this figure in a joint paper presented last week. Titled, “Indian Venture Capital, A Future Scenario’, the report says that private equity participation in sectors like Education and Film Production is also slated to rise as VC’s look beyond IT for investment. Siliconindia says, “VCs are expected to invest more than $2 billion in India's maritime infrastructure and logistics as it strengthens cargo handling facilities to meet rising demand for exports and imports.” The National Maritime Development Programme hopes to attract almost 64% of the investment required for upgrading the maritime sector through this route. VC’s are also analysing possible participation in downstream businesses, including warehousing and container freight stations.

Is the Vizhinjam mega project in trouble? Perhaps, according to the Economic Times, which says that unconfirmed reports suggest that Lanco Kondapalli power may be now opting out of the project, much to the dismay of the Kerala government. LKP was the winner of the original bid; Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd (VISL) officials indicated to the paper off the record that Lanco has sent a letter to VISL in this regard. The 5300 crore public/private partnership Vizhinjam project has been plagued with delays and some controversy, with bidders Zoom Developers of Mumbai having gone to court contesting the Lanco award. The Supreme Court had directed the State government to relook at Zoom’s original bid; this evaluation is in progress. Meanwhile, Zoom CEO Thampy has threatened to go back to the courts if the company’s bid is rejected again. The mega project is envisaged to generate 5000 direct and 1.5 lakh indirect jobs; officials in the State Government say that if Zoom’s re evaluation is shot down this time and Lanco opts out, the whole bidding process will have to be restarted from the beginning at considerable time and opportunity cost.



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