Businessexcellence ACHIEVING O N L I N EColomboDockyard www.cdl.lk C O R P O R AT E B R O C H U R E
At Colombo DockyardthecrossroadsThe Port of Colombo in Sri Lanka is a stone’s throw from the maineast-west shipping route between Australia, the Far East, Europe andthe Gulf oilfields—perfectly placed to catch the passing trade
Colombo DockyardSri Lanka has fantastic advantages of geography. It commandsthe west and east coasts of its teeming neighbour India: seatraffic round the Indian subcontinent has to skirt its southerntip, as does the long haul bulk cargo, tanker and containertraffic that plies between east and west. That gives Colombo,Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, a strategic advantage thatcan’t be taken away; but in recent years there has beena falling away in demand for the facilities at the port, andin particular Colombo Dockyard, despite its considerableexpertise and excellent facilities. It’s no secret that until recently Sri Lanka had been rackedby internal strife for nearly 30 years. The conflict madeshipowners wary of entering service arrangements with thedockyard as insurance premiums were raised, says MangalaP B Yapa, CEO and managing director of Colombo Dockyard.That conflict was comprehensively resolved a couple ofyears ago, and the way finally laid open for Colombo to takeits rightful place in the maritime service industry. “Sri Lankais now one of the freest and least troublesome areas in theworld to carry out ship repairs,” he claims. The Colombo Dockyard Company is 35 years old, whichmeans that it has operated for most of its life under warconditions—but it has still managed to grow consistentlythrough that time, says Yapa. “That proves the operationalefficiency, good management and competence of all thepeople involved. If they are given the opportunity to performin a free environment following the war you can just imaginewhat we can achieve!” The fact that a controlling share in thebusiness belongs to Onomichi Dockyard Company of Japan
Colombo Dockyardis another help, he adds. “We have a people- from 107 to 263 metres in length; however, muchoriented environment, and operate Japanese of the traffic to Colombo these days is made up ofprinciples like kaizen. But we are not trying container ships. These ships normally dry dock atto recreate what Japan has done so much as their destination ports either in Europe or the Farto learn from them and work out what we can East, says Yapa. “Colombo is not a terminal port,do in Sri Lanka with similar thinking.” so they put in here either laden or half full. But we Colombo Dockyard employs 1,300 people, recently launched our Afloat Repair unit to providesupplementing them with contracted labour all the engine room, electrical and electronic, pipingas needed. Of these, 500 have been trained and deck work—anything at all for which you don’tin shipbuilding at Onomichi—shipbuilding need a dry dock.”is an important activity at the dock, though These container vessels call at Colombo everyuntil 2005 it built only for the local market. two weeks or so, he continues. “We can have“In 2005 we decided to take advantage of the components waiting and install them at the nextboom in shipbuilding and go out to external visit. We can even put repair personnel on board somarkets. Now we have the capacity to buildvessels of 100 metres and more in length. We the repairs can be carried out while the vessel is on the way to its next port of call. The advantage is Sri Lanka iscan deliver four vessels a year and we areworking to increase that to six.” that we have a duty free facility so all these things happen without attracting any custom duty, and that now one of the In October 2010 the dockyard deliveredthe second of two passenger/freight vessels includes spare parts. An owner who has a fleet of container vessels plying to Colombo can keep his freest and leastfor the Indian government. And last yearit also started work on the first of two 68 spare parts stored at Colombo Dockyard without paying any custom duty.” troublesomemetre anchor handling tug supply vessels The dockyard is in partnership with OEM service areas in thefor Samoa. Highly technical and specialised providers: for example, Wärtsilä has its own serviceships like these are increasingly required in company in Colombo which is mainly catering for world to carrysupport of oilfield operations, and they can the power generation sector. Caterpillar has its ownnow be ordered with confidence and at a very service agency, as do MAN B&W, ABB, Cummins, out ship repairscompetitive price compared with dockyards Hydrex and Yanmar. For example, if a ship’s Wärtsiläin other parts of the world, he says. “We have turbocharger requires balancing the dockyard willbuilt nearly 10 vessels since we started in remove it from the ship, send it to the Wärtsilä factory2005, including two passenger vessels, four where it will be tuned and balanced then re-install it.anchor handling tug cum supply vessels, two “The Wärtsilä guy will come and commission it, andmultipurpose supply vessels and two ROV the ship can depart with minimum delay.”platform support vessels.” No longer a risky place to carry out such repairs, The dockyard is also to deliver two high Colombo is now seen as a better bet than rival yardspowered anchor handling tug cum supply in the Middle East, which following the unrest ofvessels with 150T bollard pull capacity to recent months might now be perceived as being lessSingapore owners, while three more improved stable than Sri Lanka—or indeed Singapore, whichversions of ROV/platform support vessels with is becoming very expensive and is having skillsoil recovery facilities—an improved version of problems. Most of the work done in the Singaporethe ‘R’ class that the dockyard has already yards is carried out by contract labour, often underpaidbuilt and delivered—are being constructed. in defiance of Singapore’s strict labour regulations. Colombo has four dry docks ranging Quality has been seen to suffer as a result, he says.
Colombo Dockyard Circumstances have come together toprovide a real opportunity for Colombo, Yapaconcludes. “Being a developing economymeans our labour and management costswill be lower than either Europe or the FarEast. We have competent, directly employedpeople who can go on board and do the jobbut it is not just a question of manpower. Wehave a sophisticated IT system; our dockyardsystems are ISO certified so we can offer afully integrated stock management systemso the owners will see how their stock ismoving; and we can come to long termservice agreements so there is no need fora superintendent on location constantlynegotiating each job.” The odyssey of excellence continues...www.cdl.lk BE