Incorporated in 1972 as a fully government-owned company, Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) today has emerged as a forerunner in the Indian shipbuilding and ship-repair industry. Excerpts from a tête-à-tête with its officiating chairman and managing director, and director (operations) commodore K Subramaniam:
How has been the performance of Cochin Shipyard in the last few years?
Cochin Shipyard has given a stellar performance in the last few years. Adopting right product mix, catering to international clientele and entering defence sector by building the prestigious aircraft carrier project has put CSL on a fast-growth trajectory. In 2009-10, income from shipbuilding increased from R222 crore in 2005-06 to R1,012 crore.
Did the global economic slowdown affect your business?
A diversified product profile, and a strategy to shift focus to domestic and defence constructions helped us tide over the global recession without any adverse effect on the growth. The yard signed four contracts of offshore support vessels for Shipping Corporation of India and aggressively bid for various requirements of Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard. The company is on the verge of concluding a major contract for 20 fast patrol vessels for the Indian Coast Guard. The year 2010-11 has commenced on a positive note for CSL.
Can you elaborate on the client profile of CSL?
CSL has a mix of commercial and defence orders. The yard is presently constructing 15 offshore supply vessels for domestic and international owners. Besides, the yard is also constructing the prestigious 'indigenous aircraft carrier' for the Indian Navy. In the aftermath of the global recession, the yard is now vigorously pursuing shipbuilding for the defense sector.
What are the company's recent measures taken up to improve its performance?
The company has taken a concerted view to put in place proper systems to improve quality and implemented an integrated management system in December last year. This comprises of implementation of an environmental management system, cccupational health and safety management system, in addition to the existing quality management system.
What is the future outlook of the shipyard?
The future outlook is to grow as a leading shipyard of this region. To keep taking up construction of niche products, which would give the yard a technological edge and value addition. For this, we are in the process of identifying the expansion avenues, and future product and customer profiles. We hope to have a definite plan by next year.