DP World denies reports of quitting project

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Dubai Ports World, the holding company of India Gateway Terminals Limited which operates the Vallarpadam International Container Transshipment Terminal here, has denied some media reports that it was abandoning its Kochi project.

Senior vice-president and managing director, sub-continent, Anil Singh said, “DP World is a responsible, dynamic organisation committed to our Indian operations. There has been media speculation about our growth and operations. We work consistently at fostering growth and do not comment on or encourage such speculation.”

The terminal operator is learnt to have expressed the hope that India will extend relaxation in cabotage rules.

Group CEO of DP World Mohammed Sharaf is learnt to have conveyed the terminal operator’s wish to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his visit to Dubai. Cabotage rules, under Merchant Shipping Act 1958, do not allow foreign vessels to transport cargo from one Indian port to another and is meant to protect India flagged vessels’ business. However, the rules were relaxed in December 2012 for a period of three years with a view to drawing mainline vessels to Kochi. The relaxation period is due to expire in December.

Cochin Port Trust has clarified that DP World had not offered to quit its business in Kochi. Sharaf conveyed to the visiting Prime Minister that both DP World and India government had invested a total of $400 million in the facility here and that the current relaxation in cabotage rules would end shortly.

According to Mr. Sharaf, the Prime Minister wanted DP World to build more ports in India.