The government has removed cap on the number of players who can participate in financial bidding for port expansion projects under public private partnership (PPP) to minimise litigations and get better returns.
Until now, the government allowed only five technically qualified players to participate in financial bidding, which led to litigations and slowed down projects, a Shipping Ministry official said.
"The government has now done away with the cap. The move is expected to reduce litigations from those left out, expediting projects. Besides, more bidders may get better financial offers for the government," the official said.
"Now, all technically qualified players will be allowed to make financial bids," he added.
The Shipping Ministry's decision follows a similar move last year by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to remove the limit on the number of private players who could bid for PPP road projects.
He said the government will award six port projects by March-end, in addition to the seven that have been already given out so far this fiscal.
"Besides, the government will invite RFPs (request for proposals) for eight more PPP projects by March end," the official said.
The government has planned to undertake 276 capacity expansion projects at various ports across the country, entailing investments of around Rs 55,000 crore under the National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP).
Under the NMDP, the total capacity of the 12 major ports in the country is envisaged to go up to 1,016 million tonne (MT) by 2011-12 from 570 MT at present.
Besides, the major ports, India has around 200 minor ports.