Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) is India’s youngest defence shipyard, but has made significant strides. Here in an interview with SP’s ShowNews, Rear Admiral (Retd) Vineet Bakhshi, Chairman and Managing Director, speaks on the driving spirit behind the creditable growth trajectory of the company.
SP’s ShowNews (SP’s): From a modest ship repair yard to an award-winning defence hipyard - how did GSL accomplish this successful transition?
Vineet Bakhshi (Bakhshi): Originally established by the Portuguese as a repair yard, GSL was a division of Mazagon Dock Limited post Goa’s liberation in 1961. Thereafter, in 1967 it was incorporated as Goa Shipyard Limited, with its own Board of Directors. It has been the vision of past leadership, who made long-term investments in expansion, technology induction and infrastructure, and the commitment of the executives and employees that was primarily responsible for the growth of the company.
SP’s: What are the ingredients of this growth?
Bakhshi: It is a combination of a host of factors principal being the faith of the customer, induction of modern technology, setting up an ERP and paperless office system and the development of a quality design office. This has also been aided by continuous upgradation of employee skills, good HR practices, and healthy relationship with the unions and associations.
SP’s: As the only shipyard in India equipped with a proven design capability, how does GSL ensure quality products that meet with the customers' satisfaction?
Bakhshi: Continuous research & development in ship design is integral to GSL’s customer orientation. GSL’s (ERP)-IT system ensures that designs are verified by internationally accredited facilities. The in-house design system involves a virtual ship construction wherein the design of the ship is evaluated for spatial layout. The shipyard’s designs provide for efficient hull forms as well as to the specific needs and requirements of users. In fact, as you have mentioned, it is the only shipyard in India having a proven capability to design and build ships to a customer’s specific requirements with a focus on patrol vessels.
The shipyard’s quality assurance programme has been carefully developed over the years to meet with rigorous defence and commercial quality standards. The Quality Assurance Division is involved at every stage of the production and acceptance process.
SP’s: What is the business model followed by GSL?
Bakhshi: GSL seeks to ensure optimum utilisation of its resources and looks at sustainable development, ensuring that the future generations are better advantaged. While building its core competencies in shipbuilding, it has also utilised its technical and managerial capabilities to successfully diversify into new areas of products that include the design and construction of training simulators for the Indian Navy and ONGC and setting up of shore-based test facility for light combat aircraft (N) for Aeronautical Development Agency Bengaluru. Recently it has ventured into construction of glass reinforced plastic (GRP) boats for the Ministry of Home Affairs.
GSL has also arranged for licence production of “amphibious roll-on rolloff system” with 80 per cent of it being indigenously produced. The system, once introduced in the country, would considerably improve the amphibious capability of our forces. GSL is now looking to export its products overseas.
SP’s: What is GSL’s track record in terms of products designed and built?
Bakhshi: To date, GSL has built 189 ships including offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), missile craft, survey vessels, sail training ships, fast patrol vessels (FPVs), extra fast attack craft, offshore supply vessels and 116 glass reinforced plastic interceptor boats. Indeed, there are 21 FPVs and OPVs designed and built by GSL in services with the Indian Coast Guard. One 90 M OPV for the Coast Guard is under construction and will be delivered later this year.
In addition, four GSL designed Naval OPVs with state of the art features are under construction. At present, efforts are ongoing to develop design for a 75-metre multi-role patrol vessel with stealth features. In addition, work has started for the design of a shallow water anti-submarine warfare craft.
SP’s: GSL’s modernisation plans have been in the news recently. In view of this major infrastructural expansion, how does GSL envisage its future growth and expansion?
Bakhshi: World trends, it has clearly understood the importance of timely deliveries in the national and international arena. GSL has embarked on a planned modernisation project aimed at creating new facilities and infrastructure even while augmenting existing facilities to achieve the qualitative and quantitative objectives to build and deliver quality ships at competitive cost with shorter construction periods.
The modernisation will provide for virtually new facilities for the construction on steel, aluminium and GRP ships. It will include new wharfs, land berth, cranes and a ship-lift system.
Once fully completed, it will result in substantial augmentation of the shipyard’s capacity to fabricate steel, aluminium and GRP hull vessels to nearly three times its present capacity. In addition there will be a quantum increase in the ship repair segment. The modernised yard, expected to be ready in about three years, will be a contemporary yard, ready for the 21st century.