Mundra port has been making steady gains among Indian shippers and is poised to make more thanks to additional capacity.

CMA CGM on Tuesday signed a joint venture (JV) agreement with Adani Ports to operate a new container terminal, called CT4, at India’s Mundra Port, increasing the pressure on public rival Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust.

Mundra in recent years has made steady market share gains, particularly from northwestern India, and the early completion of the terminal elevates Mundra to India’s largest container hub.

Under the agreement, the French carrier’s subsidiary CMA Terminals will operate the facility for 15 years with an option to extend it twice for 10 more years.

The only terminal on India’s west coast able to handle mega-ships has an annual capacity of 1.3 million TEU and spans more than 27 hectares (67 acres) with a 650-meter (2,133 feet) long quay and a draft of 16.5 meters.

CT4 has four rail-mounted quay cranes of 65-tonne capacity capable of handling ships up to 18,000 TEU and 12 41-tonne lift rubber-tire gantry cranes.

The terminal is CMA CGM’s first port investment in India, where it has been operating since 1984 and has around 4,000 staff and 29 offices. The carrier calls at 13 Indian ports and operates 11 direct weekly services connecting the country with Europe, Africa, North and South America, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. 

The early completion of the terminal brings Mundra that much closer to its goal of doubling its annual capacity to 6.6 million TEU. Work to expand capacity at an existing terminal operated by Mediterranean Shipping Co. to reach that 6.6 million TEU is ongoing.

“This [JV] with Adani Ports reinforces our position in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and highlights our firm belief in the potential growth of trade between India and the rest of the world,” said Rodolphe Saade, CMA CGM’s chief executive officer.

This new investment adds to the 27 container terminals in CMA CGM’s portfolio “and is a key step in its strategy to further expand its position in port operations,” the Marseilles-based company said.

The signing of the JV comes a day after a consortium including Terminal Link, one of CMA CGM’s port units, won the bid for a 67 percent stake in Greece’s second-largest port Thessaloniki.

Terminal Link and its partners Deutsche Private Equity Partners and Cyprus-based Belterra Investments are paying 231.9 million euros ($253 million) for the state’s shareholding with the final investment expected to top 1.1 billion euros.

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone is India’s leading port infrastructure developer and operates 10 ports and terminals in the country but seeks to become a global operator.

To that end, Adani has signed a memorandum of understanding with Malaysia’s MMC Port Holdings Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MMC Corporation Berhad, to assess the feasibility of constructing a greenfield multipurpose port meant largely for container-handling on Carey Island, about 30 miles southwest of Kuala Lumpur.

Contact Bruce Barnard at brucebarnard47@hotmail.com.

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