He is the dynamic president of the Goa Shipyard Association and the business head of Vijai Marine Shipyard. Suraj Dialani spoke to AJIT JOHN about the state of the ship building industry in Goa.
What is the state of the ship building industry in Goa?
Current state is very poor barring a few shipyards who are very proactive and have tried to get business from outside Goa and India and surviving. In general very poor.
Why is it very poor?
The ship building industry over here developed as a barge building industry which depended on mining. When it was taken away a lot of yards were shaken up because of the unprecedented stoppage. There were revival plans for the industry but shipyards were way down the food chain and it was felt perhaps they were not hurt but it was. When this business was on, people were not proactive to search for business outside. Everyone was focussed on what was within the State. No one expanded because all the action was over here. Sudden stoppage did not give them time to expand and look at new horizons. Not everyone has that competency to expand overnight. A few shipyards who expanded during the good times have survived but most could not.
Have the shipyards moved to other businesses?
70 percent of ship yards have shut down and 65 percent of these have not been able to shift to new business. In general shipping is also now in the dumps. It was a double jeopardy for these people. With the infrastructure restriction in Goa with the CRZ, where even a small request can hamper your application, many did not even have the right environment to grow to the next level. If I have to go outside for business, you have to allow me to grow my infrastructure. Very few could come out and survive.
What would you like to see the state and Central government do?
State government can start by announcing this industry is required for the socio-economic wellbeing of the State. Hence it should be shielded from unnecessary hindrances. If we don’t modernise we will become obsolete. What happened to the other yards will happen to the surviving yards. The govt can say this is an industry with a good multiplier effect which generates good employment. Sensitise the officials and tell them this industry is needed and whatever needs to be done sit with the stake holders and do it within the framework and within a time limit. There will be revenue generation for the government through taxes.
The Central government should do categorisation of shipyards. On a lighter note I would say that inform Ronaldo that he is a great player and he should play the really big matches and come to the Goan league and score ten or twenty goals. You are definitely the best but you are underperforming by playing at this level. Someone who is competent to build air craft carriers, frigates are coming down to build yard crafts for the navy is crazy. Defence public sector units should build all order Rs 500 crore and more. You create a different sector between Rs 5 crore and Rs 200 crore, small sector shipyard. If you have this kind of skills, this turnover, these facilities then you are under category A let us say. So whenever navy wants an oil tanker, it is not a weapon craft float a tender only among category A shipyards. Let them compete amongst themselves. Don’t route it through the defence public sector unit. If the order is for Rs 60 crore, he will downsize it to Rs 10 crore and the rest with them . Let the small sector grow and watch how it blossoms. We gave this proposal a year ago to the ministry and various authorities have been told to create categorisation. Not one of them has completed or implemented them as yet. We are saying instead of asking authorities ask the shipyards to categorise. These people have been delivering ships in the last ten years. I have delivered ten ships in the last ten years. I am now supplying ships to Maldives breaking the stranglehold of Indonesia. Also exported to UAE and also doing a lot of government tenders. Global shipping is down but the order book is there. The naval staff and the ministers have seen Cochin shipyard and when they come to mine or another small shipyard they think it will not be possible to build a ship. But we have the competence. We are building and delivering and so why can’t we do it for you. If I am building for Goa shipyard who gives it to you then why can’t you give it to me directly. They just want to levy such high impractical demands. For a Rs 50 crore ship you ask Rs 100 crore how will a start up manage it.