Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Shipping Corporation of India plans to purchase 40 vessels, including four very large crude containers, worth $2.5-3 billion in the next three years.

The public sector unit had recently received the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approval for acquiring four Panamax bulk carriers of about 80,000 dead weight tonnes (dwt) at $59.55 million each.

Speaking to the media after inking a deal with South Korean shipyard STX to acquire four Panamax bulk carriers for $238.2 million, SCI Chairman and Managing Director S. Hajara, said “By 2011, we will place orders for about 40 ships worth $2.5-3 billion.”

On funding for acquiring the four Panamaxs, he said 20 per cent of the cost would be met through internal accruals while balance 80 per cent would be mobilised by raising debt.

The deliveries of these vessels would continue uptil 2014 when the total cargo carrying capacity of the PSU would be about 10 million tonnes.

SCI had already placed orders for 32 vessels worth $1.88 billion. It has 79 ships at present.

About expansion plans, Mr. Hajara said the corporation would take the joint venture and special purpose vehicle (SPV) route to tap opportunities in the port infrastructure development. The investment to be made by the PSU would not be much in terms to total investment.