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Essar sees big prospects in coastal connectivity projects

Business Line

Jan 12th, 2018

Looks to use its dredging expertise in infra projects

With Centre pushing for port-led development and coastal connectivity projects, companies having dredging strengths are going to the drawing boards to chalk out suitable strategies. One of the early entrants in the Indian dredging space, Essar Ports is exploring possibilities to use its decade-old dredging expertise for crucial infrastructure projects such as coastal connectivity and infrastructure projects.

Speaking to BusinessLine, Rajiv Agarwal, Managing Director of Essar Ports informed that there were emerging opportunities in the areas of coastal infrastructure, including roads and reclamation of land.

“There are larger sectors, where dredging activity is gaining focus, and some of them include coastal road connectivity and reclamation of land. Essar may look to provide its decade-old expertise in the dredging field for the emerging opportunities in coastal connectivity and infrastructure projects,” he said.

“We have a long experience into this field, but at the moment we are employing our resources for our own purposes. We have not commercially explored it for the third party like other commercial private dredgers. However, if there are opportunities, we are not averse to look at it,” Agarwal said adding that currently the focus is on the own dredging requirements at Hazira port in South Gujarat.

The requirement of dredging activity in the country has assumed significance due to need for constant deepening of the channels and make ways for larger vessels to berth.

Essar currently has 3 dredgers fleet with combined capacity of 13 million cubic of dredging. The company had recently added 4 million cubic capacity dredger at Essar Bulk Temrinal at Hazira in September last year.

It has built a 7.2 km long and 300 meters wide deep water channel by dredging from water depths between 1 meters and -12 meters to facilitate the handling of Capesize vessels for its customers from the steel and power sectors. This brought down the cost of operations of the user industry.

Essar has also developed a 15 km navigation channel and a turning circle for safe navigation of ships in Salaya which feeds the power sector and other industries of the region.

“So far, we have invested about Rs. 125 crore for creating the dredging capacities – primarily for the vessels/dredgers. The dredging activity is a continuous process requiring regular spending on activity. Unless you do continuous dredging with dedicated fleet, it is not possible to maintain the navigability of the channels,” Agarwal said.