Shapoorji Pallonji has agreed to buy a 51% stake in Odisha’s Gopalpur port. Orissa Stevedores Ltd (OSL), one of the three original promoters, will hold the remaining 49%. The second private port in Odisha, the Gopalpur project was won by a consortium of OSL, metal trader Sara International and Hong Kong-based Noble Group in 2006. Developed from a minor to an all-weather port on a BOOT (Build, Own, Operate, Transfer) model, any change in ownership requires state government approval. Noble exited the special purpose vehicle (SPV) in 2010. Shapoorji will be mostly acquiring Sara International’s stake. Halfway between Paradip port and Vishakapatnam, Gopalpur was well placed to serve the plant Tata Steel, which was planning to build nearby at the time that bids were floated. In the midst of an expansion, the port took a beating in 2013 when cyclone Phailin hit landfall nearby. In 2011, Naveen Jindal’s Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) came close to acquiring a controlling stake. The deal failed to get the Odisha government’s approval and ties are said to have soured between JSPL and OSL.
Image source: My Berhampur