IHC Dredging has signed a deal with Cochin Shipyard for a design and engineering, hardware and support package for the licensed construction of a Beagle 12 trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD). Cochin Shipyard will build the TSHD for the Dredging Corporation of India (DCI). A welcome order for IHC, but perhaps not the one the yard was most hoping for.

The new vessel to be built is part of the Beagle series of medium sized TSHDs. These TSHDs have a hopper volume ranging from 4000 to 12,000 m3, are designed for a wide range of dredging activities and are known for their high efficiency and maximum uptime.

With the high-capacity (12,000 m3) Beagle 12, DCI expands its fleet of TSHDs. The new dredging vessel will be used for safeguarding and improving the accessibility of the ports and waterways of India.

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IHC in India

‘We are proud to be part of the “Make in India” initiative by working together with DCI and Cochin Shipyard, India’s finest shipyard, on the first Indian built dredger of this size and capacity,’ says Ronald van Son, Director Dredging Custom Vessels at IHC Dredging. ‘With support being organised from our local office and workshop in Mumbai.’

IHC Dredging has been active in India for almost 100 years, building the first dredger in 1926. Van Son adds: ‘This new order underlines the good and longstanding relationship with DCI. We have built all ten TSHDs in their fleet. Our ambition is to build strong relationships with our customers. Now and in the future. Therefore, we are very keen to commence this new path of continued partnership within the Atmanirbhar initiative.’

With the construction of this new TSHD for DCI, IHC Dredging is looking forward to become the technical partner of Cochin Shipyard. Van Son: ‘This partnership speaks to the expertise and experience we have in designing and engineering TSHDs and state-of-the-art equipment, also partly locally build at IHC Dredging in Mumbai. In this way we are able to support DCI in the growing demand for (port) maintenance and dredging services with sustainable solutions.’

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In want of orders

The order is no doubt good news for IHC, which has been struggling for quite some time now, although it is perhaps not the kind of order they were really hoping for.

In April 2020, the shipyard had to be rescued from bankruptcy by the Dutch government, banks and a group of companies with bridging loans and credit guarantees amounting to hundreds of millions of euros. This was followed by a reorganisation in November 2020, which saw 300 jobs being cut in the Netherlands, 300 abroad and 500 among the contingent workforce. In addition, a number of divisions/subsidiaries were divested.

Just in October of this year, the company announced it would cut another 251 jobs and temporarily close its yard in Krimpen aan den IJssel due to a lack of new orders. A month later, IHC IQIP was put up for sale to lower the company’s debt load.

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In October, a spokesperson of IHC said orders for smaller ships and installations continued but that the yard was hoping for concrete, large orders, particularly of the custom-built kind, which of course would preferably be built at its facilities in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the Beaver will not fall into this category, as it will be built by another shipyard in another country.