Dredging Corp. eyes inland waterways, foreign markets
The firm seeks to be nodal agency for execution of integrated port infrastructure projects that include construction of berths and marine structures
Mumbai: State-owned Dredging Corporation of India Ltd is seeking to diversify from its core dredging activity and become a nodal agency for execution of integrated port infrastructure projects that include construction of berths and marine structures, chairman and managing director Rajesh Tripathi said.
“We want to utilize our core competence to diversify and venture into new areas of dredging, including reservoirs and rivers,” Tripathi said adding that the company would continue in its core area of dredging the sea.
Tripathi said that with the growing focus on inland waterways, Dredging Corp. would be re-entering the inland dredging market from the fiscal year beginning 1 April and offer its expertise in the execution of inland waterway projects on the Ganga and Godavari.
“We want to take up projects that give us better returns,” he said.
Dredging Corp., which runs a fleet of 15 dredgers, will venture into foreign markets in the new fiscal year for the first time in almost a decade.
The Vizag-based company has issued an expression of interest to rent out four of its dredgers and a tug for as long as two years. “There is free-time available for these dredgers. So, we are re-scheduling our resources to earn revenue,” Tripathi said.
Abu Dhabi-based National Marine Dredging Co. has offered to collaborate with Dredging Corp. to deploy the four dredgers in the Gulf, said a spokesman for the shipping ministry that controls Dredging Corp.
“Dredging Corp. will earn dollars by renting out the four dredgers and this can be used to pay euro loans worth Rs.1,200 crore. It will give us a natural hedging mechanism. If somebody offers us a better rate, we will rent out these four dredgers,” said a director-level official at Dredging Corp.
Once a monopoly, Dredging Corp. is facing growing competition from local private firms such as the Adani Group and Mercator Ltd and global dredging contractors. The company now has to participate in tenders to get work after the government ended the earlier system of giving contracts on nomination basis (without tender) at state-owned ports.
Between April and December 2014, Dredging Corp. reported a profit of Rs.21.66 crore on revenue of Rs.543.51 crore.