India need to take effective urgent and immediate steps to boost the shipbuilding capacity to meet both the domestic demands and take due share of the international demands.
As per data available in the year 2007, the Indian owned Fleet of Foreign going ships is presently 257 ships with 7.75 million GT. This is less than 1% of the total world 810 million GT. More over the Indian overseas trade carried by Indian owned vessels is only 13.7% and the balance 86.3% is carried by Foreign owned vessels.
India need to take effective urgent and immediate steps to boost the shipbuilding capacity to meet both the domestic demands and take due share of the international demands. Some of the justifications in favour of this are enumerated below : –
- 40% of the Indian owned fleet is more than 20 years old and Indian owners will need to spend about $ 4 billion to replace these in the next 5 years.
- Indian owned fleet need to grow in leaps and bounds to carry our own trade and to have some share in international trade.
- There has to be some place other than Korea and China to build ships. India meets the requirements to fill this gap.
- India has adequate internal market to manufacture their own ships and avoid these being imported.
- India has very good manufacturing base.
- India can provide huge work force, workers with good command of English language and established education and judicial system.
- The ancillary industry will flourish with increasing shipbuilding capacity.
- The existing 23 shipyards ( 9 govt. owned & 14 in pvt. Sector ) are totally inadequate to meet the challenges past, present & ahead. Of the above only one is capable of constructing an Aframax. size ship.
Recently some global ship owners are building some smaller ships at CSL, ABG, Bharti, L&T etc. , because the maritime nations like Japan, S.Korea and China are refusing to entertain orders for building relatively smaller vessels. This, of course, does not in any way put us in the league of shipbuilding nations.
The facts and figures given in the foregoing paragraphs are stimulating shipbuilding expansion in India. The private shipyards like ABG, Bharti, Tebma etc are trying to expand their facilities. New players like L&T, Goodearth, Mercator, Adani Group and others have been trying to set up new shipyards. The Government has also announced setting up of two new shipyards. All these efforts have not yet yielded fruits.
The increase in shipbuilding, shipyards together with ports are inescapable if we have to cope with rising overseas trade. These are essential features for the poised economic growth.
In view of the phenomenal rapid growth of shipbuilding capacity in China ( para 4 above ), India may like to do some introspection both at centre and state levels and as national goal as to what can be done to accelerate the process of enhancing the shipbuilding capability and capacity substantially? The Government support on the lines as specified in the para 5 above will go a long way to place India in the International scene.
We need to simplify procedures to attract foreign players and also motivate internal players so that they are able to set up new shipyards rapidly to catch up, on the lost time in the last few years and become one of the leading nations in the world to manufacture ships of any size and class including specialised vessels. The support by way of land, power, roads and infrastructure etc will of course be required from the Government. The above introspection may also result in other actions that may be required to step up actions in the field of shipbuilding.
The increase in shipbuilding, shipyards together with ports are inescapable if we have to cope with rising overseas trade. These are essential features for the poised economic growth. As a subsidiary benefit, the strong shipbuilding industry in the country will support the defence preparedness with maximum content of self reliance and indigenisation.