With a view to increasing its turnover to Rs 1,000 crore with a net profit of Rs 125 crore, the Dredging Corporation of India Limited (DCIL) has launched an exercise to convince the Centre to instruct all the major ports to award their annual maintenance dredging contracts on nomination basis to the premier dredging company.
The decision assumes importance in the backdrop of the Ministry of Shipping’s decision to finalise Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for tenders. The DCIL, which was acquired recently by a consortium of four major ports insists that the company should be given the first right of refusal. The board is expected to discuss the issue shortly.
Immediately after takeover of the board by the new stakeholders, the DCIL, which is headquartered in the city, bagged the annual maintenance dredging contracts from Paradip Port Trust and Cochin Port Trust. Senior IAS officer M.T. Krishna Babu, who played a key role for takeover of 73.41% of equity by Visakhapatnam, Paradip, Jawaharlal Nehru and Deendayal (Kandla) Port Trusts, told The Hindu that long term contracts would make the company more profitable.
Stating that national security was of prime concern, he said the major ports should give all their contracts on nomination basis or with first right of refusal going by their track record.
The four major ports had invested Rs 1,050 with the Visakhapatnam Port Trust picking up a little higher than others. The DCIL had clocked an annual turnover of Rs 650 crore with a nominal profit during 2018-19.
Sources said Cochin Port Trust has given an annual contract for Rs 83.89 crore to DCIL whereas Paradip had cancelled the L-1 on ‘technical grounds’ and gave it to VPT at a lesser amount.
The DCIL wants to focus on taking up consultancy and overseas dredging contracts. After undertaking dredging of the Pussur Channel, the company bagged a contract from Mongla Port in Bangladesh through international bidding.
“To make our operations more viable, we have to augment our fleet and expand our presence in the foreign market,” a DCIL official pointed out.