GSL is one the leading defence shipyards and has been involved in design and construction of indigenous maritime assets that are pivotal to the Indian Navy’s and Indian Coast Guard’s attaining substantial prowess for providing maritime and coastal security. The Shipyard has undertaken a massive modernisation programme and is in the league of the best-equipped shipyards in the region. Its focus ahead is on two major contracts for building two advanced missile frigates and Mine Counter-Measure Vessels. Captain D K Sharma (Retd) of Bharatshakti.in interviewed Commodore BBNagpal (Retd), CMD, GSL to take stock of GSL’s strengths and current commitments.
Captain DK Sharma (Retd) Bharatshakti.in (DKS): You are one of the biggest shipbuilders we have in this country; take us on a brief walk across GSL’s milestones during your tenure.
CommdoreB BNagpal (Retd), CMD, Goa Shipyard Ltd (CMD, GSL): GSL has garnered a reputation of being one of the fastest growing Yards in the country, producing state of the art indigenous vessels for maritime security forces. In addition to the quality products, the Shipyard has also proved itself as a reliable supplier with unique distinction of all deliveries prior to contractual schedule.
The last one year has also been very encouraging with the Yard transitioning itself to the domain of advanced weapon intensive platforms by signing the prestigious contract for construction of two Advanced Missile Frigates for the Indian Navy under design assistance from Russia. This project will definitely catapult us into a select league of shipyards which can design and construct complex weapon intensive ships. I am proud of the fact that, since the signing of contract in January 2019, we have aggressively worked in coordination with Russian Design agencies and Indian Navy to ensure speedy completion of the preparatory activities.
We are presently executing the 05 Coast Guard OPV (Offshore Patrol Vessel)Project which was an order from the Indian Coast Guard in continuation to the recently executed 06 OPV project. This ongoing project is also progressing on schedule. Few of the notable events related to this project were the launching of three out of the five ships, all in 2019. Quick successive launching of three vessels within a span of 09 months indicates the vibrant nature of productivity of our Yard.
Keeping with the trend of catering to wide segment of products, we have also secured orders from Uttar Pradesh Government for construction of a Ferry Craft and Lakshadweep Administration for building a 2000 Cylinder LPG Carrier Vessel. Execution of both these projects are progressing as per scheduled timelines.
We are on the verge of completion of entire modernization program spanning over a decade. I am pleased to inform that the last and final Phase 4 of the project for construction of the GRP facility has been completed in all respects and ready for utilization. This facility is equipped with state of the art facilities for manufacture of products developed through Composite Technology.
We have also laid additional impetus and thrust on Repair and Refit Sector where-in, in the last one year we have successfully completed more than 10 refits of vessels from Indian Navy, Coast Guard as well as Merchant Marine. Sensing an opportunity in the repair and refit field, we have gone a step ahead by expanding our operations to Karwar and a separate Refit Office has been set up there to independently cater for repair requirements of vessels based there.
The Shipyard has also made significant inroads into global market with export of diverse vessels to Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Countries. In recent years it has delivered 15 vessels and a Damage Control Simulator to neighbouring countries. GSL is proactively pursuing with various countries for further improving our performance in terms of exports. We are in dialogue with our DefenceAttaches (DAs) in Indian Missions to promote our products.
DKS: Which are the major projects that your yard is into now?
CMD, GSL: Currently, we are executing the 05 CG OPV project, which is a follow on to the recently concluded 06 CG OPV project for the Coast Guard. The deliveries of these vessels is scheduled between Jan 2020 to Jun 2021. In line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Govt of India, we have increased the indigenous content of these ships to 70% against 60% for the last 06 CG OPV Project.
The prestigious Advanced Missile Frigate Project or Project 1135.6 which was inked in Jan 2019 is also picking up momentum with the Design Phase at advanced stages and production activity to commence very soon.
As I had mentioned earlier, we had also signed two relatively smaller contracts, one pertaining to construction of Ferry Craft for the Uttar Pradesh Government to be delivered at Varanasi and the other which is construction of two 2000 LPG Cylinder Carrier Vessels for Lakshadweep Administration. Both these projects are progressing as per the planned schedule and in keeping with the stipulated delivery timelines.
DKS: Will you be able to meet your deadlines in terms of timely deliveries?
CMD, GSL: The major advantage that we have in the market is our ability to design our own platforms and our impeccable record of building ships on time without any cost over runs. A well-structured production schedule and seamless coordination between Design. Planning and Production Departments helps the Shipyard to be always ahead of production schedules. Decisive management backed by strong ERP driven project monitoring are few of our strong points aiding in timely deliveries. I would also like to acknowledge the motivated and performance driven workforce of the Shipyard, which is the backbone of our unparalleled performance. This gives us the confidence that we will maintain this trend of timely deliveries of our products in times to come.
DKS: What about the area of exports. How has it been so far and what orders do you have at this point in time?
CMD, GSL: The Shipyard has made significant inroads into global market with export of diverse vessels to Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Countries. In recent years it has delivered 15 vessels and a Damage Control Simulator to neighbouring countries. The performance of these ships have been highly appreciated by respective customers.
GSL is proactively pursuing with various countries for further improving our performance in terms of exports. We are in dialogue with our DAs in Indian Missions to promote our products. We have also commenced export of soft skills in Shipbuilding design to our neighbours. One course has been recently completed for one of the Gulf countries and a second one is planned shortly. The Government has been extremely supportive in promotion of exports and helped us in engaging with potential countries/customers. We are confident of providing a significant contribution towards attaining this target.
DKS: What are your expansion plans both in terms of requirements of the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard?
CMD, GSL:With the present updated capacity GSL can undertake concurrent construction of 14 steel hulled vessels at a time, eight at Hull Fabrication stage and six at the outfitting stage. In addition, we can undertake concurrent construction of five FRP hull ships such as MCMVs. So now our focus is to expand the product portfolio and cater to the ever increasing requirements of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. A large number of projects are lined up for both Indian Navy and Coast Guard and GSL is confident of bagging few of these. In addition to the mid-sized vessels where we have domain expertise, we are developing expertise in niche segments such as Hovercrafts and Missile Vessels. We have ramped up our expertise and capabilities to execute these additional shipbuilding projects concurrent to the ongoing long term project for Missile Frigates.
We also aim to consolidate and expand in the segment of diversified products such as simulators, stern gears, stabilisers and heli grids. In addition to the Damage Control Simulators and Nuclear Biological & Chemical Training Facility, we intend to design and construct various types of simulators for the submarines such as IPMS Simulator, Escape Training Tower and CMS Simulator. We also intend to continue to market our wide portfolio of Boats.
DKS: What is the system you have in place for supporting MSMEs and indigenisation? How do you nurture them, ensure quality deliverables, and what stage do you incorporate them in your projects?
CMD, GSL: While we are aggressively pursuing the ‘Make in India’ initiative by introducing more and more import substitute products, we are conscious of the fact that MSMEs form a critical fulcrum behind this initiative. Therefore, we are putting in all out efforts in increasing our vendor base. We have a robust Vendor Development program in place which looks into Regular conduct of vendor meets, active participation in vendor meet at Regional as well as National level, facilitating yard visit for vendors for interaction with stakeholders at GSL and understand requirement, imparting training on TReDS to MSEs, rebate in Class approval fee for MSEs owned by SC/ST entrepreneurs from Indian Register of Shipping and Handholding local suppliers.
We were one of the first companies to implement the Purchase Preference Policy in 2014 and a dedicated cell for Indigenization has also been set up. A total of 37 core shipbuilding items have been identified for indigenization and with the scheduled commencement of construction of Advanced Missile Frigate Project, we are looking to involve a large indigenous vendor base for manufacturing of equipment, sub components and systems for the platform. We have already identified items that will be taken up for indigenization for this project and we believe that SME vendors will have a crucial role to play in this regard.
DKS: How do you organise specialised training of your workforce?
CMD, GSL: Our Company believes in the concept of timely training of its existing as well as its future employees so as to keep its output optimized even after the separation of senior employees and augmentation of new workforce. We understand that investing in the Learning and Development of our manpower is the best way to utilize resources for maximizing our bottom-line. Therefore, the entire spectrum of Learning and Developed has been categorised into Training, Skill Development and Apprentice School. Regular Training Need Assessment is being undertaken to evaluate the requirement keeping in mind the changing technological needs and latest advancements in the industry.
In view of the commencement of the latest project pertaining to construction of Advanced Missile Frigates, we have strategized to impart the required skills through our Apprentice School.
The anticipated MCMV Project would require specialised skills in FRP fabrication. Accordingly we have also started training our fitters in FRP trade thereby making them multi-skilled and simultaneously creating a pool of trained manpower.
As far as Skill Development is concerned, we have taken a number of measures such as Welding training at the Society of Industrial Training and Education of Goa (SITEG), Training of instructors of ITIs at SITEG, adoption of the Vasco ITI to name a few. In addition, we are supporting a number of local training institutes towards skill development of local populace.
Captain DK Sharma (Retd)dk