Nomination or tender are like two sides of the same coin, says GYV Victor, MD and CEO of DCI

P Manoj | Updated on March 09, 2021

GYV Victor,Managing Director & CEO, DCI Limited   -  The Hindu

With nomination of works comes lots of liability as DCI needs to prove itself to the utmost satisfaction of major ports for a win-win situation

It’s a home coming for GYV Victor where he began his career as a cadet from the All India Dredging Cadre in 1991. In his first interview after taking charge as the MD and CEO, Victor spoke to BusinessLine on the issues and challenges facing Dredging Corporation of India as it transforms from a contractor to a preferred-contractor for major ports on the back of policy support from the government. Excerpts:

For the first time since its inception, DCI is led by a dredging professional. How do you plan to grow DCI and make the company competitive to take on local and foreign rivals, particularly the Dutch?

From a quick review of the operating efficiency of DCI, it is evident that we are operating within acceptable range of factors as published by European dredging companies. There is scope for improvement, and we will be focussing on strengthening in-house contract management and project management skills to be on par with national and international competitors.

We have plans to strengthen the technical and repairs team to facilitate working of DCI dredgers more efficiently to complete the projects on time or before time.

With ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, we are moving from contractor to preferred-contractor status that will provide us additional works as a win-win situation to develop and maintain ports and waterways.

With the ‘Make in India’ initiative, we shall move from international to national whereby DCI will be able to achieve self-reliance with competitive cost cutting measures on spares and stores available in India.

DCI has been a pioneer in maintaining waterways and ports and we shall now move forward to undertake capital dredging (channel deepening) works and other dredging works.

The ‘atmanirbharat’ policy is a big comfort factor in securing works. But, it also demands discipline on pricing and timely execution to make it worthwhile for all parties concerned. How is DCI gearing up for that?

‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ will facilitate DCI in securing works. Having said that, there is a need to understand the market dynamics. Only a few private companies such as ISDPL and Van Oord are now active in the Indian market after some dredging contractors exited over the last few years. Hence, DCI will play a key role in maintaining ports and waterways. It may appear that major ports are awarding works to DCI on nomination basis, but the fact remains that there are not many companies keen on participating in maintenance dredging tenders. The ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and the new dredging guidelines provide a level playing field to all.

It is paramount that when DCI is a preferred contractor by major ports and others, timely execution and completion of works becomes a critical factor, and DCI is fully geared up to address this challenge.

Within the applicable guidelines, DCI has sub-contracted part of its work to other Indian companies to overcome capacity shortage. Looking ahead, DCI shall procure dredgers to augment capacity and to address the immediate capacity shortage, DCI shall also seek approval for chartering dredgers without compromising on standards and cost.

The draft of the new dredging guidelines by the Ministry of Ports says that major ports may entrust dredging projects to a ports-owned company, in which it owns controlling share, on nomination basis. Will winning contracts without open, competitive bidding make DCI complacent?

By permitting major ports to entrust dredging works to DCI on nomination, DCI is transforming into a preferred-contractor status. The transformation shall be quick and comes with responsibility and liability as the erstwhile PSU dredging company is now owned by four Centre-owned ports - Paradip Port, Visakhapatnam Port, JN Port and Deendayal Port.

The Port chairmen are willing to provide fair and equal opportunity to DCI to perform with increased efficiency and be a preferred contractor for all major ports and others. DCI shall leave no stone unturned to face all challenges and emerge victorious.

There are merits and demerits both in tendering and on nomination basis. With nomination of works comes lots of liability as DCI needs to prove itself to the utmost satisfaction of major ports for a win-win situation for both parties. At the same time, nomination may be disadvantageous to DCI as there won’t be much negotiating powers. Nomination or tender are like two sides of the same coin.

With work flowing from the ‘Atmanirbhar’ and the new dredging norms, DCI is expected to face capacity challenges. Is the time right to draw up a fleet renewal and expansion plan given that many of DCI’s dredgers are old and lack technical and operational efficiency?

After the withdrawal of a few private players from the market, India’s cumulative hopper dredging capacity has reduced by 30,000 cubic metres. DCI is expected to fill the gap. DCI also scrapped about 11,000 cubic metre cumulative hopper capacity. DCI, thus, needs to augment and draw up fleet renewal and expansion plans.

We are moving in the right direction by signing an MoU to construct the first ever trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD) in Cochin Shipyard.

The MoU is significant and historic as this is the first time, an attempt is being made to construct a TSHD in our own shipyard.

We have sufficient technical manpower, technology and zeal to move forward on ‘Make in India’. Nonetheless, we can’t claim to be experts in dredger building and therefore it is appropriate to have a knowledge partner such as IHC which is a global pioneer in dredger building for 100 years and is associated with India for over 60 years.

Published on March 09, 2021

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