The enthusiasm, dedication and passion for ship building have helped ABG Shipyard Ltd remain in the forefront. Speaking to Maritime Reporter & Engineering News, Major Arun Phatak (right) points out that it is more important to be a responsible shipbuilder demonstrating with solid results rather than empty talk.
Unruffled by the slump in shipping freight rates, ABG Shipyard Ltd., the largest private shipbuilder in the country, has persisted on a high-growth trajectory. With a record delivery of 158 specialized and sophisticated vessels to date, the versatility of the shipyard and expertise to build a complex and wide range of vessels speaks volumes about ABG’s potential and vibrant track record.
“We managed to foray into the international market because of the quality of our product, timely deliveries and cost competitiveness,” says Maj. Arun Phatak, President and Executive Director of AGB Group. “We compare much better than the Korean and Japanese ship yards. Almost 90% of our orders in the merchant marine side today are for exports. For this we have been acknowledged by the government of India as the highest exporters in the engineering category in India and have been receiving several awards including the All India Trophy for Highest Exporters consistently from 2003-04 onwards, in recognition of our outstanding contribution to Engineering Export. We have also been felicitated with the ‘Shipyard of the Year Award’ by Lloyd List in Dubai last year.”
Major Phatak is all praise for his team of well-qualified professionals ‘fired with a passion for ship building’. “Our Chairman Rishi Agarwal’s visionary zeal serves as a catalyst for sustained growth,” he says. “If there is something about ship building that Mr. Agarwal does not know it is not worth knowing,” he adds for good measure.
He elaborates about their 275 strong ABG team which represents a unique blend of skill, expertise and camaraderie along with support from contractual labor consisting of over 8000 workers. Their greatest forte is that their executives keep abreast of the latest developments. Well trained and equipped with sophisticated tools, they rise to global challenges with finesse.
ABG’s exclusive Vocational Training Program enables ongoing skill enhancement. Most importantly, diverse skills such as creative and analytical thinking, technical know-how, managerial expertise and financial knowledge are integrated to create more highly motivated customer driven teams.
More than 55% of the orders today are repeat orders from old customers with whom ABG has maintained an enduring relationship. Today, the orders in hand are worth $ 3,192 million for a total of 72 new buildings.
The company boasts of celebrated clients including Sea Tankers (John Fredriksen Group – World’s largest tanker operator), LYS-Line (Norway), Lamnalco, (Sharjah), Dess Cyprus Ltd, Maridive Offshore S.A.E. Egypt, and several others.
ABG has three major facilities on the Indian West coast - at Surat, Dahej and Goa. The state-of-the-art shipyard at Surat has the capacity to build vessels up to 155 meter length and 20,000 DWT. With the acquisition of Vipul yard and restructuring of the existing yard, the shipbuilding capacity has more than doubled at Surat.
The Dahej facility incorporates the latest manufacturing set-up with high levels of automation making it capable of building all kinds of vessels for the Indian Navy and others of up to 250 meter length and 1,20,000 DWT. Launching of large sized vessels can be undertaken by the 33,000 ton ship lift, the heaviest ship lift facility in the world designed by Rolls Royce and built entirely in-house by ABG.
A key feature of the yard is its capability to construct offshore rigs and platforms. Presently four jack-up rigs are being built. At Goa, ABG has its Western India Shipyard Ltd which is India’s largest ship and rig repair facility in the private sector. With a capacity to repair ships of up to 60,000 DWT, the yard also features state of the art floating dry dock.
On the Anvil
“We have a shipyard under construction at Calcutta, on the East Coast,” informs Major Phatak. “It will costs $ 28.9 million and be dedicated solely for building smaller vessels of 150 to 160 meters in length. Having a shipyard on the East coast will greatly help ship owners by providing them the logistical advantage, as there is no repair facility on that coast. Besides, a number of public sector companies are looking to outsource their ship building and repair operations on the East coast. Hence we will be able to take a major share of this.”
From 2000 onwards ABG has delivered 54 ships equaling approximately one ship every 7 weeks. The company is ready to take a quantum leap into the world’s front ranking shipbuilders as those from Korea, Japan and China. Unfortunately India’s contribution to global shipbuilding activity is only 0.1%. “The reason these three nations enjoy major global share is because of the support they receive from their governments by way of subsidy,” Major Phatak points out. “Their government recognizes this industry as an employment generator.
Similarly, if the Indian government extends similar support, ship building in India can become a major contributor. It is for the government to realize that the revenue it would have acquired through taxes would actually be much more than the subsidy it would be providing.”
(As published in the August 2012 edition of Maritime Reporter - www.marinelink.com)