India’s first free-trade warehousing zone to come up in May

Arshiya International will start operating its first free-trade warehousing zone in Mumbai by 23rd May; its hubs at Khurja (near Delhi) and Nagpur are likely to be completed by the end of FY11

India’s first free-trade warehousing zone (FTWZ) will be operational by 23 May 2010. Arshiya International, the logistics company developing this zone, will officially open its Mumbai FTWZ next month. Trial operations have already started at this site.

“Some clients have already moved in, the trial run is going on right now. Some of our clients have started their material movement from various countries and also from various parts within the country. The entire material should come inside the (Mumbai) zone by the end of this month or latest by the start of May,” said Ajay Mittal, chairman and managing director, Arshiya International. “We would also start billing our customers from 23rd May,” he added.

Arshiya International is developing the country’s first FTWZs in three locations—Mumbai, Khurja (near Delhi) and Nagpur.

On the clients who will be using the zone, Mr Mittal said, “We have around18 clients for the 4.5 lakh sq ft developed in the initial construction which will be operational next month.”

The company plans to develop a total 27 lakh sq ft of warehousing space in the Mumbai FTWZ, of which 4.5 lakh sq ft has been completed. The entire project in Mumbai is likely to be completed by the last quarter of the next fiscal.

Mr Mittal added, “I expect decent revenues. Let us first prove (that) the model (will function). I see healthy revenues from our operations. More importantly, it will create integrated value for Arshiya International as a whole.”

While the Mumbai FTWZ will be formally operational by 24th May, the Khurja FTWZ is likely to be operational by the end of 2010. “(The) Nagpur FTWZ is expected to be completed by the last quarter of FY11, Khurja should be operational before that,” said Mr Mittal. The Mumbai FTWZ was completed in six months. The construction work at Khurja has already started and the Nagpur FTWZ is likely to get approval soon.

The company also plans a fourth FTWZ in southern India. “It should be between Chennai and Ennore ports, though the location is yet to be decided. On the eastern front, it is a wait-and-watch scenario as there is no satisfactory port available to cater to this zone,” Mr Mittal added.

Going forward, the company is looking at a capital expenditure outlay of Rs7,000 crore from the current Rs2,500 crore to Rs2,700 crore. “These investments would be required to fund our expansion in the FTWZ arena, in phases,” said Mr Mittal.

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    Private equity funds to focus on emerging sectors

    About 80% of investments by 2015 in healthcare, education and clean energy sectors are likely to be contributed by private equity funds, says a study

    Most investments in emerging sectors like healthcare, education and clean energy will come from private equity (PE) funds in the next five years, a study has said, reports PTI.

    About 80% of investments in healthcare, education and clean energy by 2015 are likely to be constituted by PE funds since these are the emerging sectors, according to a joint study released by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and Deloitte.

    “The government has been laying substantial focus on building these sectors through public-private-partnership projects aimed at developing these areas,” said ASSOCHAM president Swati Piramal.

    In 2009, PE investment in the healthcare sector was to the tune of $148 million and is expected to increase substantially in the next few years.

    “Within healthcare, the most favoured areas for investments are diagnostic services, medical devices, hospital chains and wellness products,” the study said.

    Currently, the size of the Indian education sector is estimated at $40 billion. It is expected to touch the $68-billion mark in the next three years, of which private equity investments would be more than three-fourth.

    In the area of clean energy, there is a steady increase in the number of market players. Therefore, investments are expected to be more broad-based.

    Besides renewable energy generation, areas including waste water, waste management, energy infrastructure and energy efficiency would also attract private equity investments, said the study.

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    MTNL gears up for mobile number portability

    The launch of the service has been delayed twice as various operators are still setting up the networks required for the service

    Gearing up to meet the 15th May deadline for launching mobile number portability (MNP) services, State-run MTNL has invited bids for installing a gateway, crucial for the portability infrastructure, reports PTI.

    Mobile portability service allows subscribers to change an operator while retaining the number. The launch of the service has been delayed twice as various operators are still setting up the networks required for the service.

    MTNL has floated the Rs8-crore tender for supply, installation and testing for the number portability gateway.

    An MTNL official said that the company hopes to reach the testing stage of the MNP network by mid-next month. MTNL plans to implement the number portability gateway (NPGW) to support MNP in Delhi & Mumbai.

    A number of operators are currently in the process of setting up such gateways to support their MNP networks.

    “Based on the successful completion of the action taken (tests), we will finally decide the dates for MNP implementation,” the Department of Telecom had said.

    MNP was to be implemented by 31 December 2009, in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai as well as in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

    The deadline was later changed to 31st March for launch across the country. In February, DoT said that it was planning to launch MNP by the first week of May, with initial launches in Bangalore and Chennai.

    But now there are indications that MNP may be delayed even beyond the latest scheduled roll-out date of 30th June.

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