The Dredging Corporation of India is all set to expand and strengthen its fleet of dredgers to meet the future demands of ports in India.
At present, DCI owns 10 dredgers of different sizes and capacities. It is equipped to handle 60 million cubic metres of sand per year, while the requirement for ports that need annual dredging is close to 105 million cubic metres.
“This is likely to grow to 160 million cubic metres in the next 10 years and to meet the demand, we need to expand our fleet and enhance the capacity of the existing fleet,” said K. Rama Mohan Rao, Chairman of Visakhapatnam Port Trust, who is also the chairman of DCI.
He was speaking to reporters after inaugurating the annual beach nourishment programme, near INS Kursura Submarine Museum, here on Wednesday.
“As part of the expansion, DCI is negotiating with Kochi Shipyard for building a 7,700 to 12,000-cubic metre dredger. This will add to our existing fleet of 10 and the new one is estimated to cost around ₹600-700 crore,” he said.
Efforts are on to enhance the capacity of 5,500-cubic metre dredgers to 7000-cubic metre dredgers. “This process is called ‘jumboisation’. Here, the dredgers will be cut into two parts and the length is increased by adding an entire section, to enhance capacity,” he explained.
Each jumboisation project is likely to cost DCI around ₹200 crore.
Every year, VPT takes up the beach nourishment programme as part of its corporate social responsibility.
As part of the project, 2.10 lakh cubic metres of sand is dredged from the sand trap area and pumped into the beach area from RK Beach to Kursura Museum.
The beach faces an erosion of the same amount of sand during the monsoon every year and this is pumped back to restore the balance. This year, VPT has again engaged DCI to take up the project at a cost of ₹15 crore, said Mr. Rama Mohan Rao.
Erosion has been a major issue in this part of the beach and VPT has been running the beach nourishment programme for the last few years. “If we do not do it, the roads will be damaged and the surrounding areas may get effected,” he said.
DCI Managing Director Rajesh Tripathi and other senior officials from VPT and DCI were present.