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Kochi Port may appoint 3rd contractor to complete dredging at Vallarpadam - 2012-05-28

Kochi Port may appoint a third contractor to complete the dredging work at Vallarpadam terminal to achieve the 16 meter draft. The project was initially awarded to the Kandla-based Jaisu Shipping at a cost of Rs 525 crore. Since it could not complete the work, despite extended deadlines, the port management had terminated the contract in April 2011.

Jaisu Shipping had completed 96 per cent of the work. To carry out the remaining four per cent work, the job was entrusted to another dredging company, Mercator Line Ltd, in May 2011. The work involved removing about two million cubic metres of silt from the ICTT berth basin at a cost of Rs 60 crore. The company was contractually bound to complete the work within four months before September 2011. However, despite giving extensions of nearly eight months, the company could not complete the work.

The port management has now put Mercator on notice giving them a deadline to complete the work failing which the contract would be terminated. According to sources, the port management is now considering other options including asking Dredging Corporation of India, which already has the maintenance dredging contract with the port, to complete the remaining portion along with the maintenance.

Being a riverine port, it requires regular maintenance dredging to maintain the depth, the sources said. It is pointed out that the port is spending heavily for annual maintenance dredging, which is a drag on its resources. The average dredging cost of 10 major ports in the country is less than seven per cent of their operating costs whereas the same is 38 per cent in the case of Kolkata Port and 28 per cent in the case of Kochi Port.

Source : Hindu Business Line