Maintenance dredging: Kochi port may award contract for 20 years

V. Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on March 12, 2018

A dredger collecting dredging silt from the Kochi Port channel. - Photo: K.K. Mustafah   -  Business Line

To curb the rising cost in maintenance dredging and to ensure a guaranteed availability of dredging mechanism in the port channel, the Kochi port is in the process of evolving a new concept in terms of maintenance dredging by awarding the work for a period of 20 years.

The port is mulling the option of awarding the maintenance dredging contract on a BOT model and the Kochi-based consultancy firm, KITCO Ltd, has been entrusted with the work to prepare a feasibility report on a PPP model in this regard.

New concept

This is, however, a new concept that has not been tried out in the other Indian major ports, sources told Business Line.

In the past, the dredging required for maintaining the depth of the channel and basin was being carried out mainly through an annual dredging contract.

The present dredging contract with DCI is for a period of three years from 2011-12 to 2013-14. The indicated annual maintenance dredging quantity in the channel and the basins is in the order of about 18 million cubic metres.

Eyeing ppp model

According to sources, the port had approached the Shipping Ministry seeking an assistance to purchase a own dredger to carry out the maintenance dredging in the channel considering the incurring expenditure. The Ministry, however, turned down the proposal and instead directed the management to look for a PPP model in maintenance dredging work so as to give an assured guarantee in maintaining the depth in the channel.

dredged materials

At present the dredged materials are now dumped at designated dumping areas located in the deep waters at about 20 km from the entry to the port. The time taken for disposal of these materials in the sea is about three hours which requires serious consideration. Instead of dumping the same in the sea, there were other possibilities such as using the dredged materials for filling up the areas or as manure or for industrial purpose. There were parties who were willing to station their dredgers full time in Kochi if a long term contract for 20 years were given, the sources said.

The consultants should suggest possible models for introducing PPP for taking up the work of maintenance dredging and the effective utilisation of the dredged materials. They should study the dredging requirements in the channels, basins and berth frontages with respect to port operations. They should also assess the feasibility of bifurcating the areas where dredging is required with reference to location and nature of material to be dredged.

The Board of Trustees had ratified the proposal and KITCO is expected to furnish the draft report within a period of three months, the sources added.

Published on October 10, 2011

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