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  • Worldwide, ship sizes are increasing to achieve economies of scale. As a result, there have been major investments in deepening the channel for ships, and expansion and development of new ports, which, in turn has led to an increased demand for dredging.

  •  India is no exception. With various maritime programmes such as Sagarmala and the Jal Marg Vikas, the union government is focusing on creatingas well as maintaining deeper depths at ports and inland waterways.

  • The sector is witnessing new developments every year. In November 2017, guidelines for the issue of security clearance to bidders with respect to dredging projects at the major ports were approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security. The process for disinvestment of 100 per cent paid-up equity capital in the Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) through strategic sale with the transfer of management control has started.

  •  Long-term contracts and new funding sources are being explored. The industry profile is slowly changing with the growing presence of private contractors, both domestic and foreign. Rising opportunities have also led to the procurement of new high capacity dredgers. Greater emphasis is being laid on indigenous manufacturing of dredgers.

  • Apart from the core sectors, ports and inland waterways, contractors are exploring opportunities in aggregate dredging, dredging for the oil and gas sector, shallow water dredging, waterfront development, offshore mining, land reclamation activities, etc. They are also looking for opportunities abroad. DCI, for instance, which secured a contract for Mongla Port, Bangladesh, in 2017, is also eyeing Bahrain and Turkey, among others.

  • While companies are exploring greater opportunities in the dredging industry, several challenges need to be overcome. The sector is struggling with a shortage of trained and qualified personnel, lack of dredger repair capabilities, poor structuring of contracts, inadequate investigation techniques, etc.

  •  Having said that, substantial opportunities are expected to open up in the next few years, driven by a focus on the development of ports and inland waterways, and growing demand from other areas. Advanced technologies and equipment for carrying out dredging as well as designing of dredgers, undertaking surveys, proper management and disposal of dredged material, etc., need to be explored on a continuous basis.

  • The mission of this conference is to highlight the trends and opportunities in the sector and discuss the key challenges. It will also showcase some of the noteworthy initiatives, projects and technologies.

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