Building a new future
Colombo Dockyard started its operation as an integrated shipyard in 1974 and primarily focused on ship repair and building.
Catering for the repair and maintenance of fleets in the international market, its ship building interests initially targeted the emerging market within Sri Lanka. Continuing its heavy involvement in repair and maintenance, by 1983 the business took the initiative to build a 125,000 dwt drydock, significantly enhancing the capacity. The shipbuilding sector grew during the notable boom in 2004 to 2008, building vessels for the offshore oil and gas industry, capitalising on its inherent strengths in building small and complex vessels, gained in the local market building harbour tugs and patrol boats required by the emergent port expansion and patrolling requirements of the Sri Lanka Navy.
Today, it plays an important role as one of the leading ship builders in South Asia capable of building high quality, fully integrated offshore support vessels for the international market at competitive prices. Equally, Colombo Dockyard still controls an important role in repair, maintenance and conversion of such vessels. In March 2013, the business celebrated the 20-year anniversary of its successful joint venture collaboration with its Japanese partners.
Mangala Yapa, managing director, addresses how the business has become recognised for its quality of service, HSE compliance and timely delivery, whilst remaining competitive: “The shipyard consists of four drydocks, large enough to deal with crude, product, gas and chemical tankers, and our location close to India, the international shipping routes and the Arabian Gulf places us in an ideal position for such repairs. In addition, all types of vessels catering to the oil and gas industry such as diving support vessels (DSV), well stimulators, seismic vessels and research vessels are drydocked for routine, emergency and damage repairs and conversions.”
The shipyard is positioned in the intersection of major sea routes from the East coast of America, Europe, West and East Coasts of Africa, the Arabian Gulf and West and East Coast of India, the Far East and Australia, placing it in an enviable position for an integrated shipyard of this nature. Adhering to a Japanese ethos in business its core values can be attributed to its success, explains Mangala: “Remaining customer focused and committed to quality and HSE, enhances the flexibility and ability to adopt and adapt in a fast changing environment as we work towards long-term sustainability. We have a strategic location, competent and loyal workforce, sound management and operational ethos that gives us a competitive edge.”
Commenting on the most significant milestones reached throughout the years of operation, Mangala says: “Of course the commencement of our operation in August 1974 was very significant, and the decision to venture into the construction of a large drydock over the period 1982 to 1988 has been vital to the standing of our business today. In 1993 we restructured the operation following the Japanese collaboration, and in 2007 we internationalised our shipbuilding interests.”
Clients from across the world including India, the Far East and Europe have benefitted from its ship repair expertise and the business has primarily focused on several important clients in Singapore in respect to ship building, working on behalf of Greatship (India) Limited and Greatship Global Offshore Services Limited (Singapore) amongst several other Singapore based owners. The Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) is one of the major customers of Colombo Dockyard Plc, whose oil and gas tankers as well as offshore support vessels are undergoing major repairs and conversions at the shipyard. “Most of the vessels including DSV Samudra Sevak, owned by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) of India, are managed by the SCI and having evaluated and being confident of our capabilities, the entire major repair was entrusted to us,” announces Mangala.
With the establishment of peace and stability, the country is poised to move ahead in expanding the facilities available for the maritime industry. The rapid expansion of the ports in Sri Lanka, including a newly constructed ultra-deepwater port, accommodating even the largest container vessels has been a significant step forward. Positioned between two fast developing economies, India and China, Sri Lanka’s strategic importance in maritime activities is enhanced. Addressing growth, Mangala comments: “Developing the human resources capacity has been one of our key challenges throughout history and critical attention has been paid towards training, development and retaining personnel. At any given point we have a pool of around 350 to 400 trainees and apprentices, channelled through the National Apprenticeship and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) and all our industrial employees, as well as employees of our subcontractors, are sourced from this pool of trainees that we create annually.”
In constructing its future, the focus is very much on internal processes and improvements towards efficiency, productivity improvement and cost reduction. With its capacity and experience, Mangala concludes: “Colombo Dockyard is driven to reach greater heights both as an integrated ship-repairer and builder in niche markets and is driven to building technologically complex, fully integrated, quality vessels, maintaining them and converting some of the older vessels to meet modern requirements. The Sri Lankan Government has a strategic vision to develop the economy and the re-establishment of peace after a 30-year period of instability has given much needed space for Sri Lanka to forge ahead. The potential for growth is immense and as a company, we are truly poised to achieve it”
Colombo Dockyard Plc
Services: Shipbuilding, repair and maintenance to an international market