JSW Infra to invest Rs 300 crore to develop its first container terminal

Containers on a ship wait for off-loading at the Chennai Port Trust, in Chennai. Photo: PTI
JSW Infrastructure, part of the $14 billion JSW Group, has signed a concession agreement with New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) to develop and operate its first container terminal project for 30 years.

The Mumbai-based company is investing nearly Rs 300 crore to develop the container terminal, which will have a capacity of 400,000 TEUs.

As part of the proposed investment, unlisted JSW Infrastructure will undertake mechanization of Berth No-14 for handling containers and other cargo on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis.

The container terminal will have a quay length of 350 meters and accommodate vessels up to 9000 TEUs. It will have a backup storage area of 15.5 hectares for storage of container.

 “This concession agreement with NMPT is part of our strategic direction to achieve 200 MTPA cargo handling capacity over next couple of years. Container terminal at NMPT will enable us to expand our footprints in container segment and diversify our cargo mix. We expect to commission the terminal by mid of next year. It will play a key role in economic development of NMPT and the entire region expanding upto Mysore, Hassan and Bengaluru,” Arun Maheshwari, joint managing director and chief executive officer at JSW Infrastructure was quoted as saying.

NMPT is an all-weather, lagoon type port situated at Panambur, Mangalore in Karnataka and is one of the major ports playing a key role for the economic development of Karnataka.

Over the years, NMPT has grown to handle over 42 million tonne of cargo traffic in 2018-19. Container traffic at NMPT has been growing at a CAGR of 15 percent since 2013 as compared to Indian container traffic growth of 7.52 percent.

On Tuesday, Care Ratings reaffirmed short term rating assigned to the bank facility of JSW Infrastructure Limited (JSWIL) as it continues to derive strength from the JSW Group’s ability to execute large projects in diversified sectors. Consistent growth in cargo throughput and revenue exhibited by the company on a consolidated basis over the past four years coupled with the improved profitability, cargo visibility for the ports under the subsidiaries-- JSW Jaigarh Port Limited (JSWJPL) and JSW Dharamtar Port Private Limited (JSWDPPL) also lent support to the ratings agency to reaffirm.

The rating is however constrained by significant capital expenditure plans of JSWIL which is envisaged to be executed over the next 4-5 years and is expected to result in significant deterioration in the capital structure going forward as a result of additional debt to be availed for executing the same, said the agency. Furthermore, the company is also undertaking expansion at existing ports primarily to cater to increased steel requirements of JSW Steel Limited and two green-field projects, which are yet to be fully operational. The ratings are also constrained by moderate debt coverage metrics on account of expected increase in leverage, revenue concentration risk primarily due to high dependence on group companies for cargo throughput (mainly JSW Steel Limited) and uncertainty with respect to cargo handling by South West Ports Limited (SWPL). 

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