HC to hear AM/NS India petition on transfer of Hazira port licence tomorrow

A new battlefront is opening up between ArcelorMittal and the Ruias of Essar with ArcelorNippon Steel India (AM/NS India) moving Gujarat High Court for transfer of captive port licence at Hazira.

A petition has been filed against the Gujarat government, Guajarat Maritime Board (GMB) and Essar Bulk Terminal, and the matter is listed for hearing on Tuesday. The court will first have to decide whether to admit the case, sources indicated.

Sources in the know said that both sides had made representations before the GMB, but a decision was on hold. However, some discussions had started as GMB was looking to take a call in the matter when AM/NS India moved court, they further said. GMB did not comment.

ArcelorMittal didn’t comment either. An Essar Ports spokesperson said that it was regrettable that Arcelor Mittal and would pursue such a frivolous and legally untenable claim.

“Arcelor Mittal has been doing this habitually, but what is surprising to us is that is also supporting such an approach. Their claim is in violation of the signed agreements between the parties and is also in violation of the Supreme Court approved resolution plan submitted by them,” he said.

“We are confident that the judicial authorities will see through their malafides and deal with the petition accordingly,” the spokesperson added.

AM/NS India had earlier this year applied to GMB for transfer of licence within days of acquiring Essar Steel (now AM/NS India) in a Rs 42,000 crore transaction under an insolvency process. But a decision was kept in abeyance.

ALSO READ: ArcelorMittal moves HC against Gujarat govt, Essar over Hazira port licence

Sometime last year, before the acquisition, GMB announced a new policy framework aimed at “unlocking value” by allowing captive jetty holders to handle third-party cargo. EBTL happens to be among some 10 to opt for the policy and signed a supplementary agreement with GMB.

Commercial cargo prior to the new policy was handled by the company by obtaining case to case basis approvals under the earlier policy.

AM/NS had earlier said on the subject that the existing long-term agreements governing EBTL should continue and no changes to a jetty designed for captive usage would be made without the explicit consent of AM/NS India.

AM/NS India had major growth plans and it had long-term plans of increasing capacity to 12-15 million tonnes.

However, sources close to Essar pointed out that EBTL has a capacity of 50 million tonnes per annum and the steel mill’s cargo requirements are 24 million tonnes currently. “We have surplus unutilised capacity which will be used for handling commercial cargo,” they said.

Moreover, they pointed out that the port was not part of Essar Steel insolvency proceedings. Arcelor Mittal’s resolution plan. approved by the Supreme Court, included only the steel plant and port is a separate company under Essar Ports, sources indicated.

Essar’s investment in EBTO is around Rs 3,200 crore. “The port is in compliance with policy conditions and license agreements. Arcelor Mittal is required to only hold 26 per cent equity holding in the port in compliance with captive port policy which was done by way of investment of Rs 1.3 crore,” sources further said.

As both sides get battle-ready, the captive port at Hazira appears to be the latest flashpoint after a prolonged tussle over Essar Steel.


  • October 2019: Gujarat Maritime Board announces new port policy to allow third-party cargo

  • December 2019: ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel complete acquisition of Essar Steel

  • January 2020: AM/NS India applies for transfer of licence for captive jetty with GMB

  • July 2020: AM/NS India moves Gujarat High Court to seek transfer of licence

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