Shri Madhu S Nair, Chairman & Managing Director of CSL and Mr. Alexey Rakhmanov, President of USC, signed the MoU in the presence of Shri Nitin Gadkari, Indian Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, in New Delhi, on 1 February.

The scope of collaboration extends to development of High-Speed Vessels, River-Sea Cargo Vessels, Passenger Vessels, Dredgers, and other watercrafts for inland waterways and coastal shipping, according to the Indian Ministry of Shipping.

Except for supporting the government’s Make-in-India programme, the agreement also enables Indian plans for eco-friendly and economic inland transportation under SAGARMALA. Once the infrastructure for water based transport is in place, there will be a demand for different kinds of specialized vessels in the near and medium term, and the MoU is an effort to cater to this demand.

SAGARMALA project is a USD120 billion (EUR 100 billion) investment initiative of the government eyeing establishment of at least six mega ports, as well as modernization of dozen of the existent ports, so that coastlines can be developed to contribute in India's growth, while generating thousands of jobs.

“There is a huge potential in inland waterways, cruise tourism and RO-RO transportation in the country. This collaboration would certainly bring in the much needed product as well as market innovation while harnessing newer technologies,” commented on the occasion Mr. Shri Gadkari.

USC is the largest shipbuilding holding in Russia incorporating about 40 enterprises including shipyards, which have been key contributors to the growth of inland waterways in Russia.

CSL has recently incorporated a JV Company called 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.