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Vizhinjam: IFC to conduct study

Special Correspondent



Pact: Lars Thunell, executive vice-president and CEO of IFC, and Sanjeev Kaushik, CEO, Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited, after signing an MoU in Kochi on Friday.

KOCHI: The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank, has signed an agreement with the State government for a study to develop infrastructure for a deep-water port at Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram.

The corporation will explore options to attract international investment for the project. Lars Thunell, IFC executive vice-president and Chief Executive Officer, and Sanjeev Kaushik, Chief Executive Officer of Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd. and Secretary of Ports Department, signed the documents at a function here on Friday.

The port has natural advantages such as proximity to international shipping routes. The project is to be executed on a public-private participation model.

Addressing the media, Mr. Thunell said it would take 12 to 18 months to complete a detailed analysis of the project. The IFC would function as the transactional adviser initially. It would look at techno-feasibility and conduct a global search for partners for executing the project through a transparent bidding process.

The adviser’s role included structuring, marketing and implementing the project and attracting serious investors through an open, transparent and competitive bidding process. The IFC or other agencies could be involved in funding the project later.

Mr. Kaushik said the government was committed to developing the Vizhinjam port. A study conducted on the project would be updated by the IFC. There had been substantial delay in the execution of the project, he said, in reply to a question.

Special Correspondent writes from New Delhi: “Improved infrastructure will lead to stronger economic growth in India. We are partnering with Kerala to increase capacity of its port to enable more trade and create jobs,” Mr. Thunell said.

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