The companies which have submitted bids are the UK-based CSX World Terminal, Japan-based Nippon Yusen Kabusiki Kaisha, PSA Singapore and two Indian firms, L&T and Maersk India which has tied up with Denmark-based APM Terminal.
Interestingly, Australia-based P&O which was the sole bidder earlier and was to have been awarded the contract then, did not respond this time. The delay in the tender process was owing to difference of opinion over granting the work to the lone bidder which had been approved and recommended by the Cochin Port Trust (CoPT) board two years ago.
Port officials said over 50 firms had evinced interest in the project and had made enquiries. However, only 15 of them secured the pre-bid documents and only nine participated in the pre-bid meeting held on November 6.
Tuesday was the last day for submitting applications and only five of them did so. The deadline was earlier fixed for November 15. But on the request of some bidders it was extended to November 26, port sources said.
Port officials were enthusiastic over the response, saying only very serious players had responded to the pre-qualification notice.
Besides P&O, another name missing from the list was the Dubai Port which, officials said had earlier evinced interest in the project. CoPT had earlier held roadshows for the ICTT in Singapore and Dubai.
The applications would be scrutinised in a week and discussions would be held with the companies on the different procedures and the details of the project and they will be asked to submit the final tender which would include the financial bid before December 15.
The port hoped to complete the bidding process before March 1, 2003, and award the final contract by that day.
About rumours of shifting the terminal to the nearby Puthuvypu island, officials said that it had been decided to have the terminal at Vallarpadom. There would be no shifting of the venue which could send wrong signals. Puthuvypu could be considered when the terminal planned expansion at a later stage.
Officials also scoffed off rumours that the Navy was still objecting to installation of tall cranes which would affect its operations. Port officials said this would not be a issue and discussions were held with the defence and civil aviation officials.