India's leading shipbuilding and offshore fabrication company Pipavav Shipyard Limited (PSL) began construction of the country's largest ships at Pipavav Port in Amreli district of Gujarat on Monday with an order for 26 Panamax bulk carriers.
The Panamax bulk carriers with the maximum width to transit the Panama Canal are used for carrying coal, grain, iron ore and other commodities. With a capacity of 74,500 tonne, they are the largest ships being built in India and scheduled for completion in 2009.
The 26 ships on the PSL order book are all of the same design and total almost two million tonne making it the largest order book in India. This puts PSL at number two in the world for Panamax bulk carriers, ahead of other major yards in Japan, Korea and China.
PSL was established and promoted by SKIL Infrastructure Limited, which remains a major shareholder. Besides Punj Lloyd (co-promoter) and SembCorp, other Indian institutions like IL&FS, IDBI and EXIM Bank also have a stake. Last year, foreign investors such as Blackstone, Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank and Galleon had also bought into the company.
"We've been able to move ahead significantly in the last year and now have an excellent management team in place. We will continue this forward momentum by consolidating our infrastructure and streamline our engineering and business processes to achieve best international practice. The start of production at our shipbuilding facility is a good signpost for the future," executive vice-chairman Bhavesh Gandhi said after the steel-cutting ceremony for the four of a series of the 26 Panamax bulk carriers.