Engineering manpower of top priority in shipbuilding and repairing has compelled the Colombo Dockyard Ltd. (CDL) to bring out a competent workforce to lead the industry’s highly competitive sphere internationally.
This has become a pre-requisite in view of the dearth of engineers in the country that lack the required expertise and engineering capability, CDL Managing Director Mangala Yapa told the Daily Financial Times.
It is these set of employees that have geared CDL’s performance to the maximum in a bid to ensure that today the industry stands to compete against international shipbuilders and especially even with the neighbouring countries such as India that have posed a challenge to the local industry.
Export Shipbuilding comprises the highest or 44% of the organisation’s current business model while Local Shipbuilding amounts to a mere 5%, Export Shiprepair at 39%, Local Shiprepair comparatively at 5%, Heavy Engineering at a meager 1% and Offshore Engineering stands at 6%.
Moreover, the local value addition amounts to 38% of the revenue with shiprepair contributing the highest at 63% of local value addition of the revenue while shipbuilding contributes 50% of the revenue earnings.
In this respect it was pointed out that the country requires the capability to synergize the talents within the country, Yapa pointed out.
However, the government’s assistance is sought in the training of the manpower that have to be competent enough to deliver the right product, it was noted.
In providing the right manpower, the government should be able to ensure that its vocational training should be more disciplined and technical training be adequately provided, the Managing Director stated.
He explained that CDL currently had around 400 trainees in shipbulidng, but since the work and title carried by those obtaining the training afterwards, there is a need to change the perception of the people with regard to those working in highly skilled professions such as shipbuilding.
“We need to create a perceptional change among the people regarding those working at the port,” Yapa asserted.
In the meantime it was also noted that such skilled labour was required to maintain the high standards in a bid to ensure that they be able to compete well with countries such as India which is currently planning on developing 12 private sector led shipyards as well as ship repairs.
In this respect, the booming economic drive in the subcontinent has proved well for the local industrialists whereas Sri Lanka on the other hand with a low economic pace stands to lose.
“In that backdrop Sri Lanka has to depend on FDI,” it was stated adding that this is hardly coming in to boost projects of this magnitude.
In terms of investment Yapa noted that improved productivity within the internal facilities was what the industry was currently relying on aimed at improving their potential here.
Currently with long term plans already underway with projects having been finalized until 2010, CDL is firm in its commitment to further improve on capacity, services with productive people, CDL’s Managing Director noted.
CDL is also in the process of conducting early stage discussions with authorities on further improving efficiencies such as more space inside the port.
In this respect, having studied the situation within for some time, it was noted that CDL will be coming up with some concrete proposals in a bid to ensure this will get underway with favourable signs shown by the government authorities at present.