Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), the largest shipping company in the country, plans to enter the lucrative dredging sector.
Shipping Secretary P.K. Sinha said on Friday that the government-controlled company will either buy or hire dredgers to start the new venture.
Dredging is the process of excavating or removing soil or rock from below water using dredgers. The objective is to create deeper waterways to improve navigation of ships.
Dredging has tremendous business potential as almost all ports in the country need to undertake annual maintenance dredging to keep up their water depth. Besides, several new port projects including two Major Ports are being planned which require capital dredging. SCI will be the second public sector undertaking in the dredging business. Dredging Corporation of India, the largest player, is majority owned by the Union Government.
Speaking at a function organised to celebrate the 50th National Maritime Day here, Sinha said the capacity of the Dredging Corporation and those of the private players is not enough to meet the growing demand for dredging.
SCI could tie-up with one or two Major Ports for maintenance dredging. This will not only help the company have assured business but also help it raise funds for acquiring dredgers, Sinha explained later.
Dredging Corporation is also trying to tie-up with ports to raise funds for buying additional dredgers.
Referring to the developments in the ports and shipping sectors, Sinha said the government is considering an incentive scheme to boost coastal shipping. The objective is to divert part of the cargo now being moved by road to coastal shipping. The incentive could include direct financial assistance for developing smaller ports exclusively for handling coastal vessels, he said.