A Guide to Gujarat’s Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone

Posted by Written by Melissa Cyrill Reading Time: 6 minutes

Mundra port in Gujarat is the largest privately owned port in India and a major economic and logistics gateway that caters to India’s northern hinterland states with multimodal connectivity. It is also a special economic zone.

The port of Mundra is located on the north shores of the Gulf of Kutch near Mundra, Kutch district, in the state of Gujarat. It is the largest private port and the largest container port in India.

In FY 2020-21, Mundra port handled 144.4 million tons (MT) of cargo. The port is equipped to handle dry cargo, liquid cargo, crude cargo, and containers. Mundra port also has the country’s largest coal import terminal that facilitates faster cargo evacuation with minimal turnaround time.

Mundra port is also a special economic zone (SEZ). SEZs are designated duty-free enclaves in India where the national customs law does not apply. The port SEZ reportedly has 8,400 hectare of land, of which half is currently unoccupied.

Location advantage

The coastal state of Gujarat has easy accessibility to the Western, Middle East, and African markets. Gujarat has the longest coastline among India’s states, at 992 miles (1,596 km), and no part of the state is more than 100 miles (160 km) from the sea.

Mundra also provides an ideal base for traders due to its relatively short logistics connectivity to the north-western hinterland. It is easily accessible from all major industrial destinations in Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh for export of cargo.

The Mundra port-based multi-product manufacturing zone is also well-connected to all major global markets through sea route – Middle East, Europe, US, Africa, Indian subcontinent, and Southeast Asia.

Management of the port

Mundra port is run by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ), which is India’s largest commercial ports operator and accounts for nearly one-fourth of the country’s cargo movement. APSEZ is present across 12 domestic ports in seven maritime Indian states – Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Odisha.

In June, it was reported by The Hindu Business Line that the French container shipping Group CMA CGM S A was “forced to call off a deal to sell the 50 percent stake held by its unit, CMA Terminals Holding, in Adani CMA Mundra Terminal Private Limited (ACMTPL), at Mundra port to the Chinese state-run, China Merchants Port Holdings Company Ltd (CMP)”. India has not provided necessary approvals to firms or entities with Chinese links from entering the ports sector, as it is considered a matter of security.

Infrastructure at Mundra port

The multipurpose terminal in Mundra port has multiple covered godowns and open yards to store large volumes of cargo.

  • Covered godown: These can store over 630,000 MT of cargo at any given point in time.
  • Open yards: With a total area of 1.06 million sq. mtr., these are earmarked for minerals, timber, steel, and project cargo.
  • Tank farm: The liquid terminal has a tank farm with 97 tanks capable of storing 426,000 KL of products – petroleum oils, petrochemicals, chemicals, and vegetable oils. The entire tank farm is equipped with automatic radar gauging system for accurate and real-time monitoring.

Besides, cargo can be received and evacuated at the Mundra port by road, rail, air, conveyors, and pipelines. The port can handle 80 rakes per day for inbound and out bound cargo. Separate sidings are provided for agriculture, fertilizer, coal, and liquid cargo.

The port has four- to six-lanes road connectivity allowing easy movement of cargo to and from the port.

Features to facilitate uninterrupted trade activity

  • Round the year, all-weather port with no LOA (length overall) restrictions.
  • Single window service by Mundra APSEZ for all activities related to berthing, stevedoring, back-up handling, and dispatch.
  • State-of-the-art commodity-specific facility, which enables consolidation of cargo, helping traders benefit from spot future arbitrage.
  • High-heaping equipment to heap cargo in open plots.
  • Complete covering of cargo during monsoon.
  • Berths capable of handling post-panamax and capsize vessels.
  • Provision of Goliath cranes attached with vacuum lifters to get scratch free handling of quality sensitive cargo of steel pipes.
  • Infrastructure for coastal movement.

Port connectivity infrastructure

Mundra’s multimodal connectivity provides savings in operational expenses through its integrated logistics connectivity for raw material and finished product movement:

Port:

  • Dedicated multi-product handling facilities
  • Better efficiency and safety standards
  • Excellent connectivity with hinterland of India and all major ports of the world

Rail:

Mundra port’s rail is connected to the national rail network and cargo can be handled for any location in India. Nation-wide connectivity eliminates multiple handling and results in reduced handling losses.

  • Existing rail network of 210 km – including Mundra to Adipur that further connects to the national grid where APSEZ owns five locomotives

Interestingly, in July, a special double-stack container train carrying 180 empty shipping containers departed from Mundra port in Gujarat to the Jaipur (Rajasthan) to support local export-related businesses in light of the container shortage in Rajasthan due to the pandemic.

Road:

  • Seamless connectivity through national highways NH-8A and NH-8 and state highways SH-6 and SH-48
  • Well-developed and intricate network of road and flyovers
  • New direct road connectivity to APSEZ from NH-8A under construction
  • Proximity of transportation to the north-western hinterland

Air:

  • Mundra airstrip is licensed under private use category. Presently, the runway is 2,200 meters, extendable up to 4,000 meters for larger aircrafts.
  • 1,000 hectares are earmarked for developing a logistics hub, maintenance repair overhaul (MRO), and terminal buildings.
  • Nearest domestic airports are Bhuj (37.28 mi / 60 km) and Kandla (31.06 mi / 50 km) while the nearest international airport is Ahmedabad (248.54 mi / 400 km).
  • Daily flights operate between Mumbai and Kandla/Bhuj.

Terminal handling infrastructure

The terminal infrastructure at the port is simultaneously handles multiple vessels belonging to different class categories:

  • For dry cargo, the port has a set of high-capacity Grab Ship Unloaders and Mobile Harbors Cranes can ensure quick discharge and loading of vessels.
  • A large fleet of support equipment, such as excavators, pay loaders, and mobile equipment, ensure uninterrupted and smooth operations across the entire terminal.
  • Additionally, the port has a fully integrated conveyor system for smooth and fast transit of cargo.
  • For liquid cargo, the port has pipelines of varying size and types to enable efficient handling of marine tankers.
  • For containers, state-of-the-art rail mounted quay cranes can be deployed.

What are the cargo services available at Mundra port?

Bulk and break bulk handling

The port’s deep draft berths and multipurpose terminals efficiently handle the largest bulk carriers in the world. Mundra port has high-capacity covered and open storage areas as well as expertise in successfully handling diversified and over-sized or overweight project cargo, including fertilizer, agri-products, minerals, and steel and project cargo.

Container cargo

The port boasts of a customer centric approach through innovation logistics solutions, faster vessel turnaround, and faster evacuation of containers from the port through double stacked trains. Mundra port also functions as a gateway to cargo clusters in north and northwest India, which results in a logistics cost advantage to exporters and importers.

Other features include:

  • Multi-modal transport connectivity for seamless movement of cargo
  • Four container terminals with a combined capacity of 7.5 million TEUs
  • More than 35 services operating from Mundra, which offers global coverage of trade lane
  • EDI facility for logging service requests, vessel, and container status updates as well as billing

Crude

Key service capabilities include:

  • Two single point mooring capacity to evacuate imported crude oil.
  • Capable to handle Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) and Ultra Large Crude Carriers.
  • Transportation to refineries in North India through cross country pipeline network.

Liquid cargo

Mundra port’s multiple berths are equipped with different types and sizes of pipelines from jetty to tank farm that ensure safe and efficient handling of liquid products in big parcels.

The tank farm at the port can store multiple types of liquid cargo including vegetable oil, chemicals and petroleum, oil and lubricant (POL) products. The tanks in the enclosure for POL cargo have insulation facility and a floating roof capable of storing any class of petroleum products. Thus, infrastructure at the liquid terminal ensures safe and contamination free handling of cargo.

The tank farm has a combination of SS tanks, CS tanks, and MS tanks that enable the storage of a wide range of chemicals and petrochemicals.

Other service capabilities include:

  • Dedicated tanks with heating and heat tracing facilities
  • Handles diverse and range of Vegetable Oil Products (edible and non-edible oil grades)
  • More than 460,000 liters of tank storage
  • Mundra port is the only port terminal that handles bulk bitumen on the north-west coast of India.

Marine

Mundra port has wide-ranging operational experience in handling vessels belonging to different categories (LNG, crude, RO-RO, bulk cargo, etc.) and sizes (VLCC, Panamax, Suezmax, etc.) at various ports in India.

Other service capabilities at the port:

  • Capable of carrying FiFi and oil spill combat operations
  • State-of-the-art maneuverability in lieu of Azimuth Stern Drive 360 degrees steerable propellers
  • Able to perform navigational buoy maintenance
  • Diving support vessel with full-fledged surface supplied air diving spread
  • Competent to perform salvage operations
  • Handling the largest volume of cargo and ships in the country under a single company

Roll-on – roll-off facility for auto exports

In 2009, the Mundra port launched its Automobile Roll-On – Roll-Off (RO-RO) Terminal to serve as a gateway port for automobile manufacturers located in the Delhi National Capital Region and states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. The Mundra port handles exports of cars, buses, and trucks.

Other service capabilities are:

  • Highly innovative floating pontoon and link span that performs round-the-clock RO-RO operations without any tidal restriction, which makes it one-of-its-kind in India.
  • Buffer yard along with a washing facility for parking and washing of vehicles.

Mundra port and SEZ: Fiscal benefits

  • Waiving off state levies and entry tax.
  • 100 percent exemption on export profits for the first five years and 50 percent for the next five years.
  • 50 percent exemption on ploughed back profits for five years after the first 10 years.
  • Exemption of excise duty, custom duty, service tax, VAT, stamp duty, and lease tax.
  • Exemption from electricity duty for 10 years from the date of commencement of operations.
  • Domestic Tariff Area (DTA) supplier is eligible for export benefits on SEZ sales, enabling competitive procurement costs.
  • Cost competitive financing can be availed from Offshore Banking Units (OBUs).
  • External commercial borrowings up to US$500 million can be availed without any specific approvals.

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