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Updated: September 25, 2013 15:33 IST

SCI puts on hold plans to order new vessels

Santosh Patnaik
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Capt. Sunil Thapar.
The Hindu Capt. Sunil Thapar.

30-odd shipyards in the country facing the heat of downturn as fallout of 2008 global meltdown and 2010 Eurozone crisis: Sunil Thapar

Shipping Corporation of India, India’s national ocean carrier, has no plans to order new vessels till the global economy shows signs of recovery.

SCI, which faced criticism from Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transportation for its massive acquisition during 2007-12 at a time when the prices reached the peak, has put on hold its ambitious acquisition plan.

Not only SCI, almost all the 30-odd shipyards in the country, including Cochin, Mazagon, Garden Reach, ABG, Bharati and Pipavav, are facing the heat of downturn in the shipping industry as fallout of 2008 global meltdown and 2010 Eurozone crisis.

Capt. Sunil Thapar, Director (Bulk Carrier & Tanker Division) of SCI, who was here recently to receive Merchant Tanker Desh Shanti after her release from detention in Iran on charge of oil spillage, said they had decided not to place any fresh orders due to recession. “Once the situation consolidates sometime later, we may consider further acquisition to strengthen the fleet. Meanwhile, the orders already placed, are on course,” he told The Hindu.

He said they were expecting one among the two 3,20,000 tonne VLCCs delivered by end of this year or early next year. All the acquisitions ordered earlier were at various stages of construction in Chinese shipyards.

As on March 31, 2012, SCI had 76 ships aggregating 5,566,587 dead weight tonne (DWT) and an order book of 27 vessels with a capacity of 1,667,850 DWT, according to the address of the SCI CMD at the shareholders meeting held last year.

Diverse fleet

To a question, Capt. Thapar said they had diverse fleet of vessels, including liner services, and hinted that the bad financial results notwithstanding they were in the process of improving their performance by initiating several bold initiatives. SCI specialises in transportation of bulk carriers and tankers, dry bulk, liquid and gaseous cargoes. All the shipyards, whether in government or private sector, world-wide are hit by financial crunch due to remarkable slowdown in transhipment and other high-valued cargoes.

CII Vizag chairman and managing director of Sravan Shipping Services G. Sambasiva Rao said investments in manufacturing and infrastructure sectors would pave the way for improvement of business in the shipping industry.

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