The Reliance Group is set to make an investment in shipbuilding and dredging with two separate companies. Sources said the petroleum-to-retail giant is expected to invest around $1b each in two companies and has begun talks with international majors for a strategic tie-up for the dredging business. This investment is over and above the $1.3b investment committed for the Rewas Port, off Navi Mumbai. The shipyard will come up at Rewas, where Reliance is setting up a mega port and a special economic zone (SEZ). The company is also looking at a ship repair yard at Kakinada for servicing offshore/platform vessels and rigs. This facility is expected to be the hub for all its offshore activities in the KG basin, where Reliance Industries
(RIL) has struck oil and gas in abundance. The group will spend around $1 billion to build dredgers at its own shipyard and other yards. Plans are also afoot to set up a mega dredging company, which will compete with international giants such as Van Oord and Dredging International
. Sources said Reliance wants to cash in on the two booming sectors of shipbuilding and dredging. As a majority of existing foreign shipyards are full with orders, shipbuilding prices are expected to remain firm for another couple of years. On the dredging side, almost all Indian ports are trying to deepen their berths and approach channels in order to accommodate larger ships. This has increased the demand for dredgers, pushing up charter rates to new highs, while the supply remains sluggish.