Frustrated ArcelorMittal plans new Hazira port

Vol 24, PW 15 (17 Jun 21) Midstream, Downstream, Renewables

Frustrated with the Gujarat government and Essar, Lakshmi Mittal promoted ArcelorMittal is seriously considering developing its own port and possibly an LNG terminal to serve its Hazira steel mill.

Joint venture ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel (AMNS) continues its legal fight with the Gujarat government and Essar, the former steel mill owner, to transfer the Hazira port licence into its name. Hazira is a captive port with two jetties developed and operated by Essar Bulk Terminals (EBTL).

"But ArcelorMittal has concluded that setting up a port is the best alternative," says a secretariat source. During meetings with industry department officials and the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) in May, AMNS stressed the state government left it with no alternative but to set up a port to import raw materials, mainly iron pellets, for steel production.

"Nothing is yet certain," adds our source. "But once AMNS develops the port, it might also set up an LNG terminal; they want to develop their port on the other side of the steel mill where they have sea-facing land."

Another source adds AMNS is talking to global LNG players about setting up an LNG terminal. Our Gandhinagar sources explain ArcelorMittal is tired of trying to get the port license transferred to its name.

On July 28 (2020), the Gujarat High Court admitted an AMNS petition against the Gujarat government, the GMB and Essar after GMB refused to transfer the Hazira port license. The court held its last hearing on April 15 (2021).

In dispute is whether the Essar-operated port at Hazira is a captive facility of the steel mill complex or whether it was excluded from the resolution process when Essar lost the 7.5m t/y steel mill to AMNS. Essar maintains the port was not part of the resolution process under which its steel mill was given to AMNS by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).