Col. Vinod George, Chief Operating Officer, Dredging and Reclamation at Adani Group
India has witnessed enormous economic growth over the last two decades. Although largely beneficial, this development has also generated a logistic challenge. Many goods that are produced in the country are exported to places all over the world, mostly by ship.
With a long coastline and many maritime ports this shouldn’t pose a problem. However, most Indian ports have limited capacity. Many ports lack sufficient modernisation to cope with the scale and the requirements of today’s shipping. In addition, the ports often face high sedimentation rates, which adds to the restricted accessibility.
Although there are plans and initiatives to invest in the modernisation of the Indian ports, this isn’t happening quickly enough for many of the country’s major companies, such as the Adani Group.
Efficient logistics key to success
For the Adani Group, efficient logistics is a key to success, and being dependent on ports that have limited accessibility was problematic. That’s why, during the 1990s, the company decided to take the situation into its own hands and gradually got involved in the development and operations of the Port of Mundra in the state of Gujarat. Currently fully owned and operated by the Adani Group, it is now the largest private port in India.
From the start, Adani had big plans for Mundra Port but realised that this would involve important dredging and reclamation works. Initially, foreign dredging companies were contracted to carry out the work. However, in a period with many large-scale projects around the world being realised, Adani noticed that it was difficult to get the required dredging equipment to Mundra to meet the desired construction schedule.
Gradually building up a dredging fleet
Once again, Adani decided to take matters into its own hands. It invested in dredging equipment and set up a dredging department of its own in order to be independent from third parties. First, several standard-type cutter suction dredgers (CSDs) were acquired from different providers. Soon, Adani noticed the quality, efficiency and user-friendliness of standardized cutter suction dredger. The first model, a 6520C type, was delivered in 2005 by IHC and as a result of its success, it was followed by no less than ten more new CSDs and three booster stations.
Over recent years, Adani’s dredging fleet has been highly productive – not only in the Port of Mundra, but also in other ports in India where the company is now active. So far, Adani has mainly worked with CSDs, but at present the scope of work is gradually changing, requiring further deployment of trailing suction hopper dredgers (TSHDs).
Adani has owned a small TSHD since 2007, but this dredger was not meeting the desired level of efficiency. The need for more efficient TSHDs soon became clear. The development of the standardized series of Beagle TSHDs came exactly at the right time for Adani, which was looking for a straightforward, but highly efficient and reliable dredger, based on the ‘lean and mean’ principle.
Cost efficiency has been one of the main factors in selecting the Beagle, of which two units with a capacity of 8,000m3 were ordered at the same time. The two dredgers are known as SHANTI SAGAR 17 and 18 respectively.