With the global shipping fleet growing rapidly in terms of size and capacity, Ports in India have realised the importance of deeper channels and berths, which will help them accommodate bigger ships, attract more cargoes and increase revenues. With a significant amount of dredging activity that has taken place so far, draught levels at some Indian ports have increased. However, they remain considerably lower than international standards.

During the five-year period (FY2013 to FY2017), at least 440 million cubic metres was dredged at major ports. Another 103 million cum was dredged at non-major ports (FY2014 to FY2016) Besides ports, dredging is also undertaken at inland waterways (in rivers, canals, lakes, etc.). From 2011-12 to 2015-16, around 50 million cum of dredging was undertaken at National Waterways (NWs)-1, 2 and 3.

Quantity Dredged at Indian Ports during FY2013 to FY2017 (million Cubic Metres)
Year Major Port Non-Major ports
FY 2013 87.8 N.A
FY 2014 138.6 21.12
FY 2015 86.2 39.64
FY 2016 84.9 43.01
FY 2017 88.8 N.A

Source : Indian Infrastructure

  • Port-wise details of existing draft
Drafts at Indian Ports
Ports Existing draft at berths Meters Proposed draft Meters
Mangalore 14  
Karwar 7.5  
Tuticorin – V.O.C. 8.6-14.2 17.8
Mumbai 7.5-10.4  
JNPT 15  
Haldia 8.5 9.5
Kolkata 6 6.5
Inner Harbour
Outer Harbour
Kamarajar (Ennore) 13.0-16.0  
Cochin 14.5  
Goa 7.5-14.0  
Inner Harbour
Outer Harbour
Paradip 14.5 15
Jsw Jaigarh 11.5-17.5  
Angre Alongside 12  
Finolex Terminal-Ranpar Jetty 9  
Dabhol -Konkan LNG P.Ltd. 12 13.5
Krishnapatnam 10-17.70 18
Adani Kattupalli 13  
Bharuch (Dahej): 12.7-14  
Kakinada 14.5  
Kandla 9.8-13.0  
Mundra 10.3-17.5  
Hazira - AHPPL
Hazira - EBTL – Coal & Steel
Hazira - Iron Ore Pallets
Port Blair 9  
  • Capital Dredging and Maintenance Dredging

Indian ports are under rapid expansion and hence the requirement of dredging in India has also shooting up and will be everlasting. In India the main market is for maintenance dredging rather than capital dredging.

Maintenance dredging is undertaken for the periodic removal of silt and sediments from existing navigational channels, berths, etc., in order to maintain an appropriate depth for navigational and operational purposes.

Port-wise Quantity Dredged and Expenditure incurred on Maintenance Dredging during FY 2013 to FY 2017
Ports Qty Dredged (in Million Cum) Expenditure Incurred (In billions)
Kolkata 81.1 16.8
Paradip 25 3.1
Vizag 2.3 0.9
Chennai 1.4 0.9
Cochin 128.7 7.1
New Mangalore 33.9 2.1
Mormugao 13.1 1.4
Mumbai 11.6 1.5
JNPT 8.1 1.9
Kandla 54.4 6.5

Source : Indian Infrastructure

Major Port-wise, the maximum maintenance dredging was carried out at Cochin port, followed by the ports of Kolkata and Kandla. The Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) has depth limitations on account of high siltation, which results in high annual maintenance dredging and Cochin port has the highest annual siltation load among Indian ports, leading to a large demand for maintenance dredging all year round. About nonmajor ports, maintenance dredging of 22.7 million cum was undertaken between 2013-14 and 2015-16. Around 7 million cum of quantity was dredged at Dhamra port in 2014-15.

"DCI is mainly into maintenance dredging. 76% of the &#8377700 crore maintenance dredging market at India's state-run major Port Trusts will be out of bounds for private dredging contractors after a consortium of four port trusts Visakhapatnam, Deendayal, Paradip and Jawaharlal Nehru buys the Centre's 74.44 per cent stake in the Dredging Corporation of India Ltd (DCI).

Capital dredging is undertaken to develop a new harbour, berth or waterway, or to deepen the existing facilities to allow access to larger vessels.

Port-wise Quantity Dredged and Expenditure incurred on Capital Dredging during FY 2013 to FY 2017
Ports Qty Dredged (in Million Cum) Expenditure Incurred (In billions)
Kamarajar 16.8 3.6
Paradip 8.8 1.8
Vizag 11 4.1
Chennai 1.1 0.4
VOC 1.6 4.4
Cochin 0.9 0.3
New Mangalore 0.8 0.3
Mormugao 2.6 0.4
Mumbai 8.9 1.7
JNPT 61.8 14.1
Kandla 12.7 3

Source : Indian Infrastructure

The maximum capital dredging at major ports of which 49% of the total quantity was carried out at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust followed by Kamarajar port 13% and Deendayal port 10%. Non-major ports have also witnessed significant capital dredging. In year 2015-16 around 25.3 million cum of dredging was carried out at Mundra and 13.5 million cum at JSW Jaigarh port.

  • Main Players (National /International)

The Indian dredging market is serviced by both domestic and foreign players. In Profiles of Major Players, 13 domestic players (12 private and one public sector player) and five foreign players have been covered. The 13 domestic players own 115 dredgers.

Major PlayersFleet size (no.)Total Quantity dredged during 2017-18 (million cum)
Dredging Corporation of India 15 47.00
International seaports Dredging ltd. 50 9.70
Mercator 9 1.78
Dharti 16 4.00
Rock and Reef Dredging 3 0.17
Boskalis 42 NA
Van Oord 56 6.2
Adani 19 NA
Mumbai 8.9 1.7
JNPT 61.8 14.1
Kandla 12.7 3

Source : Indian Infrastructure

At present, then DCI and a limited set of private vendors serve the Indian dredging market, the government needs to open the dredging market to attract more players particularly international players, in dredging activities to increase and maintain draft depth at ports to attract large vessels and enable them to become hub ports.

(to be continued in issue XXVIII)