Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is all set to make a mega investment, running in thousands of crores, in developing an integrated port on India's western coast of Gujarat.
According to sources close to the development, Reliance has already begun the groundwork to find a suitable location for the port and has zeroed in to the Gulf of Kutch for the port since it has a huge refinery there and a proposed multi-product SEZ is in close proximity.
The necessity for a multi-cargo port stems from the fact that huge exports and imports cargo are likely to be generated when the company's massive multi-product SEZ, housing large units of multinational petroleum firms, and the new petroleum refining capacity becomes operational in Jamnagar.
The multi-product SEZ that the company is building in the northern hinterland of Haryana would also be better served through a port in Gujarat than the already clogged JNPT near Mumbai.
We are conducting technical studies and financial evaluations to determine the ideal location, the draft required and the type of cargo that would be handled, company sources told India's leading financial daily, Economic Times.
However, the quantum of investment that Reliance is planning for port infrastructure was not immediately known.
The export cargo that Reliance is looking at handling includes that from the multi-product SEZ proposed at Haryana besides the Jamnagar SEZ, sources said.
They, however, added the company has not fixed any timeframe for developing the port infrastructure.
Several important ports such as Kandla, Mundra, Bedi, Okha and Navlakhi are located in the Gulf of Kutch.
Sources said that one of the ports that Reliance is surveying is Bedi, which has been identified for privatization under a central scheme for development of minor ports. The investment required for developing this port will be close to Rs. 900 crore, said port officials in Gujarat.
At present, Reliance is handling its captive cargo through its Sikka port. It is setting up three more single buoy moorings with an investment of close to Rs. 1,300 crore for the captive needs of the upcoming refinery at Jamnagar.