Business Times

Dockyard’s ship building orders full for two more years; more focus on ship repairs in 2011

By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera

Despite the start of another challenging year for the global shipping industry with the recession still intact, Colombo Dockyard PLC (CDPLC), says its ship building order book is full for the next two years.
“This has given us more breathing space to secure orders for the ensuing years (for ship building) and concentrate more on the ship repair sector, whose performance has slowed,” Mangala Yapa, Managing Director/CEO CDPLC, told the Business Times.

He said during the first half of last year the ship repairs sector has seen a dip, but in the second half it has turned around slightly. He said the company will be scouting markets in the Far East and Europe for this sector during this year.

He said for 2011 CDPLC has targeted to build the company’s brand around ship repairs and ship building. “In this regard we want to highlight our strengths in safety and productivity improvement,” he added. On this note, he said last year CDPLC’s Accident Frequency Rate (AFR) was at 0.84, which is low compared to regional figures (in the shipping industry). AFR calculates a company’s safety record. “This is an all time low figure for the company, which we plan to brand ourselves around,” he noted. He added that CDPLC’s total waste generation last year was 16,000 metric tones and 64% of this was re-used.
He also pointed out that albeit the many economic depressants locally and globally, the company has had 100% employee retention.

“Since 2003, employee retention has not dropped below 94% and last year not a single skilled employee resigned (non-executives) while there was only one executive resignation,” Mr. Yapa noted.
He said that CDPLC is transforming into an export oriented unique firm, able to harness people’s skills. “CDPLC doesn’t have a single raw material. We import all raw materials, convert them into high-value products and export them. So, apart from expertise and skills we’re not exporting anything. We believe that this is the future and the strength of the people,” he added.

He said that for the first time in one year, CDPLC has built and delivered 5-brand new vessels last year. “All these were for foreign ship owners,” he said, adding that 4-new ship building contracts were secured last year to the tune of Rs 9 billion.

He said that CDPLC’s subsidiary, Dockyard General Engineering services has performed extremely well during 2010 and is gearing itself to go into major infrastructure engineering projects such petrochemicals pipelines in the North and East and also the South.

When asked about CDPLC venturing to the new port at Hambantota, he said, “We recognize that it is a pivotal and enviably positioned port, which will be a major hub. CDPLC will rationally look at this opportunity outlining the greater interest of the country and also the company.”

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