DCI to take up all dredging work of ports by 2020

Special Correspondent
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Minister of Shipping G.K. Vasan dedicated the 'DCI - Dredge XX' at Chennai Port Trust in Chennai on Friday.— Photo: K.V. Srinivasan
Minister of Shipping G.K. Vasan dedicated the 'DCI - Dredge XX' at Chennai Port Trust in Chennai on Friday.— Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

By 2020, Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) will take up the entire annual maintenance dredging work of Indian ports, Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan said on Friday.

He was talking to reporters after dedicating to the nation DCI-Dredge XX, the DCI’s latest dredger, at a function in Chennai Port. Mr. Vasan said: “Dredging is an ongoing process. At present, 80 per cent of the annual maintenance dredging works is done by the Corporation and rest by the private sector. DCI is in the process of strengthening its fleet during the 12{+t}{+h}Plan period. This would enable us to take up 100 per cent of maintenance dredging works.”

The Shipping Ministry has placed orders for three Trailer-Suction-Hopper Dredgers of 5,500 cubic metres, after a gap of 12 years. These dredgers costing Rs.1,570 crore were part financed through Euro loan. The first dredger was dedicated to the nation in December 2012 and the third one would arrive by February 2014.

DCI Chairman and Managing Director D.K. Mohanty said they were in the process of purchasing two more dredgers with 9,000 cubic metres capacity costing Rs.1,972 crore. The delivery would happen by 2017.

While inviting profit-making major ports in the country to join hands with them to part finance the capital expenditure of Rs.1,972 crore, he said they had approached BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank for loan.

A Shipping Ministry official said profit-making ports such as Kandla, JNPT and Paradip could contribute up to Rs.1,000 crore for the fleet expansion programme, while DCI would contribute about 20 per cent. Mr. Mohanty said DCI had a fleet of 15 dredgers and their average age was 25 years, but many of them were 35 years old. They had phased out an old dredger and another would be phased out soon. The inclusion of new dredgers would increase the efficiency of DCI.

Mr. Vasan said his Ministry wished to deepen the draught at most of the ports to a depth of 18 metres, while the unique feature of Dredge XX is that it had a capacity to dredge up to a depth of 25 metres. Due to its robust engine power, the dredger could function in shallow waters and strong current.

Dredge XX would be stationed at Ennore Port till October to carry out the remaining deepening work of the entrance channel from 18 metres to 20 metres and increasing the radius of the turning circle from 16 metres to 18.5 metres.

The work was started by Dredge XIX, which operated for nearly six months till June before leaving the port. The remaining work would be done by Dredge XX.



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