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India’s Largest Port Operator Expands Its Dredge Fleet

Indian dredging company and port developer Adani launched the first of two Beagle trailing suction hopper dredges on March 31 at Royal IHC’s wharf in Krimpen aan den
IJssel, the Netherlands.

Indian dredging company and port developer Adani launched the first of two Beagle trailing suction hopper dredges on March 31 at Royal IHC’s wharf in Krimpen aan den IJssel, the Netherlands.

Arjan Klijnsoon, executive director Shipbuilding IHC; Arun Sinha, managing director Alar Infrastructures; Dave Vander Heyde, CEO IHC; Kees Derks, IHC area sales director India; Col. Vinod George, COO Dredging & Reclamation Adani Group; Marc Verschoof, manager production IHC; and Eric Gret, manager production IHC.

The Shanti Sagar 17 will be used for maintenance and development at Adani’s numerous ports.

The Intuitive Hopper Control Chair (IHCC) facilitates easy operation of the vessel. The ergonomic chair is equipped with controls in the armrests allowing the operator to have complete command of the dredging process.

On March 31, a new Beagle trailing suction hopper dredge was launched at Royal IHC’s wharf in Krimpen aan den IJssel, the Netherlands. This is the first of two IHC Beagle® 8 TSHDs that will be added to the fleet of the Adani Group, a port developer in India and other parts of the Asia Pacific. “The Beagles will be used in the maintenance and development of Adani’s numerous ports,” according to Kees Derks, IHC area sales director for India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. “The 8,000 cubic meter (about 10,400 cubic yard) trailer Shanti Sagar 17 is the first of the two Beagles to be delivered. The Shanti Sagar 18 will be delivered later this year.”

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ) and its involvement with ports began in 1998 when its chairman and founder, Gautam Adani, saw the need for private ports in India, where the ports were otherwise state-owned. The first port was planned to be built at Gujarat Mundra and a private dredging company was hired to work on the navigation and entry channels and land reclamation for the terminal. The experience led to the decision to purchase their own dredges and they turned to Royal IHC.

By 2005, the Adani Group started investing in developing a dredging fleet to achieve faster growth in the port sector, and today, Adani operates a large fleet of 16 dredges and has largest capital dredging capacity in India. At present, APSEZ is India’s largest private multi-port operator. It is part of the Adani Group, an integrated infrastructure corporation, that owns eight ports in India – Mundra Port, Hazira Port, Murmugoa Coal Terminal, Vizag Coal Terminal Pvt. Ltd., Petronet  Port Pvt. Ltd. (Dahej), Kandla Bulk Terminal Pvt. Ltd., Dhamra Port, and Ennore Port – and several outside of India. To build and expand these ports, Adani’s dredging division acquired several cutter suction dredges and booster stations built by Royal IHC. The fleet is also supported by extensive offshore, onshore support equipment and pipelines.

With the acquisition of this and other equipment, capital dredging has become one of Adani’s core strengths. It has successfully reclaimed land from the sea to create one of the largest coal import terminals in the world. Maintenance dredging capabilities have also grown.

Derks observes, “Over the past 10 years, Adani has purchased an extended fleet of cutter suction dredges from IHC and currently owns eight IHC Beaver® 65s with dredging depths ranging from 18 to 25 meters (19-27 yards), one IHC Beaver® 7525 and one IHC Beaver® 9029, which is capable of dredging very hard soils. Using these ten cutter dredges has allowed Adani to perform a wide range of dredging operations, such as land reclamation, port construction, and maintenance dredging.”

Col. Vinod George, chief operating officer, Dredging and Reclamation at Adani Group elaborates: “Since 2005, we have created our own dredging department and built up a fleet of 16 dredgers, of which IHC is our main supplier. IHC has also helped us to gain dredging experience by providing training and services.”

Depending on the pumping distance and grain size, a booster station may be required to pump soil long distances to the discharge location. Derks adds, “In Adani’s case, both factors make extra pumping power along the discharge line inevitable at times, and boosters can help to significantly improve Adani’s production levels. Adani has purchased four booster stations of different sizes from IHC in order to accommodate this type of operation.”

In early 2016, Adani placed an order with IHC for the construction and delivery of two IHC Beagle® 8 trailing suction hopper dredges with a hopper volume of 8,000 cubic meters (about 10,400 cubic yards). Derks explains, “These standard vessels are reliable dredges, with an emphasis on operational excellence and redundancy. While standardized, the two IHC Beagle® dredges for Adani will be equipped with a bespoke set of options. The modular design of the series means the vessels can be adapted – either during construction or later on – to suit specific needs. For example, one of the vessels will work with challenging soils, and so will be equipped with a heavier draghead and additional propulsion power. This makes it possible for Adani to easily adapt to each situation if necessary. The first trailer will have two eight-cylinder Wartsila 32 main engines, and the second ship will have two seven-cylinder Wartsila 32 main engines.”

The new developed Intuitive Hopper Control Chair (IHCC) and IHC Integrated Bridge will be installed to ensure easy, intuitive and safe control of the dredging operations and enhance the safety and efficiency of navigation. Each of the new trailers will also be equipped with IHC’s Trailspeed Controller (TSC) and Eco Pump Controller (EPC). Developed in-house by IHC engineers, the Trailspeed Controller ensures a constant speed while dredging, which leads to higher average production results and greater levels of consistency. The EPC reduces cavitation of the dredge pumps as well as wear and tear and fuel consumption.

Supporting the client is one of the most important aspects of IHC’s services. Kees Derks adds, “The Adani Group fully appreciates this aspect of our corporate philosophy. Each IHC dredge delivered comes with a package of operation and maintenance training and simulator training. This allows the operators to utilize the full potential of the vessel. The Adani Group is one of the most professional dredge operators and is careful about maintaining their vessels.”

To service the growing fleets of IHC dredges in Asia, a service center was opened in Mumbai in 2007, on the west coast of India. As Derks emphasizes, “The center has a full engineering staff. It is in the interest of IHC, and our clients, to have well-trained service personnel. For that reason, we train local people to provide support services, but also have remote assistance packages with real-time trouble-shooting on the electrical and automation system, a Planned Maintenance System and spare parts package available. A regional service center gives confidence in our product but also eliminates waiting times for parts and personnel.”

India has a coastline spanning more than 7,500 kilometers (4,700 miles), forming one of the largest peninsulas in the world. According to the Ministry of Shipping, around 95 percent of India’s trading by volume and 70 percent by value is done through maritime transport and both their private and public ports depend heavily on dredging. With this increase of trade at India’s ports, both state-owned Dredging Company of India (DCI) and Adani’s dredging division in the private sector have seen business growing rapidly.

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