Indian port terminal operator, Adani Group, is looking to replicate its successful growth strategy by forming a joint venture deal with MSC Group for terminal operations at Vizhinjam port. The deep-water port project, located in southern India, has the potential to become a regional maritime hub similar to Colombo in Sri Lanka or Singapore. Adani already has a 50:50 terminal partnership with Geneva-based MSC for one of five box handling facilities in Mundra port, which has made it the busiest container handler in India. Transhipment volumes contributed by MSC and CMA CGM have played a significant role in Mundra’s success.
Vizhinjam port is attracting attention due to its 20m draught that enables it to accommodate large-sized container ships, as well as its close proximity to the busy east-west international shipping axis. The first vessel recently docked at the port, and full-scale commercial operations are expected to commence in Q1 2024. The first phase of Vizhinjam port, which involved a $500m public-private investment, was designed for a capacity of 1m teu and includes 800m of quay wall and 130 acres of container yard space. Adani aims to position India as a global transhipment hub through the port’s strategic location on the shipping route connecting Europe, the Persian Gulf, and the Far East.
The success of Vizhinjam as a transhipment hub will depend on Adani’s marketing strategies and network strengths. Currently, a significant portion of Indian containerized freight is transhipped via foreign hub ports, resulting in higher costs for the country’s import and export trade. Vizhinjam’s capabilities to handle containership call sizes of up to 24,000 teu could be a differentiating factor for the port. In response to the potential competition from Vizhinjam, DP World Cochin is adding new cranes and a free trade warehousing zone to enhance its operations.