Experts suggest that Indian ports need to increase their draft by spending on dredging activity. As vessels get bigger, to reduce the unit cost of transportation, it becomes important for ports to have deep drafts to enable larger vessels to call on them, experts argue.
Some firms like Adani Port and SEZ invested significantly in dredging equipment to maintain the channel depth. Ports under the central government spent Rs 733 crore on dredging in 2011-12, reports indicate.
In order to increase its draft, Paradip port spent Rs 30 crore on dredging in 2011-12 and its expenditure on dredging may rise sharply, as the port plans to deepen its channels to attract larger vessels and remain competitive compared to nearby ports such as Dhamra.
The port plans to form a joint venture with Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) to undertake dredging project.
Leading major port in the country Kandla is also holding discussion with two DCI and Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) to form joint ventures and operate in the dredging space.
DCI is looking at various fund raising options to buy dredgers, while for SCI this could be a diversification to protect itself from shipping cycles.
Union shipping ministry also reportedly want SCI to consider diversification into dredging space so that it can be protected from the cyclical nature of the shipping market.
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