Reports indicate that India is set to build 24 river-sea class cargo ships for Russia by 2027. This collaboration arises from Russia’s quest to bolster its shipbuilding industry, which has been adversely affected by Western sanctions due to the ongoing Ukraine conflict.
In this partnership, India, particularly its state-owned Goa shipyard, plays a pivotal role. Simultaneously, the Indian government is keen on expanding its shipbuilding capabilities to become a global player, aligning well with Russia’s needs.
Dmitry Dubovik, director of the Caspian International North-South Integration Club, unveiled this deal during the Astrakhan International Forum in Russia. The forum brought together stakeholders working on the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), aiming to connect Russia and India via the Caspian Sea through Iran. Russia had previously outlined plans to build specialized containerships for this route.
Dubovik explained that this initiative intends to enhance shipping in the Caspian Sea. The first four ships, including chemical carriers, bulk carriers, and containerships, will be launched in 2024 from the Goa Shipyard.
What makes this cooperation advantageous, as Dubovik pointed out, is the significant cost reduction, almost half of what Russian manufacturers would charge.
Financing for this project is set to be provided by the Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance (EXIAR) through the Russian Export Center (REC).
This development comes after India and Russia announced their intention to finalize an intergovernmental agreement on shipbuilding and ship repair in May. Pawan Kapur, the Indian ambassador to China, during his visit to Astrakhan City, suggested that Astrakhan-based companies explore utilizing their expertise and ship personnel in Indian shipyards. Negotiations with Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) are ongoing to explore these mutual interests.
VTB Bank, USC’s new owner, has also expressed a desire to partner with China, the world’s leading shipbuilder. USC, as Russia’s largest shipbuilder, owns various shipyards in the country, including the Astrakhan Shipbuilding Production Association (ASPO). Russia is actively seeking shipbuilding support from India and China to boost its efforts in ice-class shipping, especially for Arctic expansion.