India signs agreement with Russian firm to manufacture inland shipping vessels

USC shipyard in Russia

Government of India-controlled Cochin Shipyard Limited said it signed an agreement with Russia’s largest shipbuilding company to jointly design and manufacture inland and coastal ships in India to enable the government’s Sagar Mala program.

Sagar Mala is a ₹8 lakh cr investment initiative of the Government of India to promote the use of water ways — including the coastal sea and rivers — for transporting goods. At present, nearly all goods in India are transported using the less efficient road and rail methods as the country has traditionally ignored its rivers and seas.

The agreement has been signed with Joint Stock Company United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) of Russia, which is the largest shipbuilding holding in Russia, according to Cochin Shipyard Ltd.

The deal covers the design and manufacturing of high-speed vessels, river-sea cargo vessels, passenger Vessels, hovercrafts and other watercrafts predominantly for use in India.

USC has under it 40 enterprises including shipyards with more than 300 years’ experience, that have contributed to the growth of inland waterways in Russia, it added.

“The signing of this MoU between CSL and USC is seen as an important step that will open the way to the wider participation of these organizations in the large-scale programme of the Government of India to boost transportation & trade along India’s Inland waterways under Sagarmala & Make-in-India programmes,” Cochin Shipyard said.

CSL has recently incorporated a JV Company by name HCSL (Hooghly Cochin Shipyard Limited) at Kolkata, West Bengal, with plans of setting up an exclusive facility for construction and repair of vessels for inland and coastal waterways.

Under India’s Sagar Mala project, the country aims to set up coastal economic zones and industrial corridors and also develop rail, road and airport linkages to ports and mines.

It is expected to boost India’s exports by about one fourth or $110 billion, and generate 1.5 lakh direct jobs and many more indirect jobs.