Dredging has gained importance in several ports across the country. Lack of sufficient draft hampers larger vessels from docking on the port and so this calls for capital and maintenance dredging. While most Indian ports have a draft of less than 12 m, vessels like VLCCs and capsize vessels require a draught of 14 m and cannot dock on ports which don't have sufficient depth. As the trade shifts to modern vessels the draft requirement is expected to go up to 14-17 m.
Currently ports capable of berthing large vessels include Gagavaram, Vallarpadam and Kandla Port. In order to improve the draft to 14 m, ports like Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Chennai, Tuticorin have employed dredgers.
This year's budget has allocated Rs 600 crore for capital dredging projects and dredging and survey organization as compared to Rs 245 crore last year. None of the Indian companies have the wherewithal to manufacture large dredgers.