By December, when an Adani Group company inducts two large dredgers to its fleet, it will not only make the firm India’s biggest dredging contractor alongside state-run Dredging Corporation of India Ltd (DCI), but also intensify competition in a market that has seen contractors quoting very low rates to win work.
Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ), which runs a fleet of 17 dredgers against DCI’s 19, has been steadily increasing its maintenance dredging capability over the past few years, both for in-house requirements and also for third party work.Indian ports accumulate silt quickly and require maintenance dredging throughout the year. The Shipping Ministry estimates the dredging market at about ₹20,000 crore by 2020. The market was dominated by DCI until firms such as Mercator Ltd, the Essar Group, Marg Ltd, Navayuga Group and Adani Group entered the sector.
“Competition is tough in maintenance dredging. As a result, rates have come down substantially,” said Amedeo Peyron, area manager, south asia at Dredging, Environmental & Marine Engineering (DEME), a Belgium-based Group that runs Dredging International NV.
In July, Dutch dredging firm Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contracting Co. won a three-year maintenance dredging contract at the Kandla Port Trust bidding ₹347 crore against the governmnet’s estimate of ₹514 crore. In August, DCI clinched a three-year maintenance deal at Mumbai Port Trust quoting ₹83.99 crore against the Port Trust’s budget of ₹141 crore.
“When Adani gets two more dredgers by December, more capacity will come into the market and the competition will get tougher,” Peyron said.