Senate Standing Committee on Defence Production in its meeting has observed that Gwadar presents itself as an ideal site for construction of modern shipyard as there is no ship building facility in the entire gulf region as of now.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Lt. Gen. (R) Abdul Qayyum here at the Parliament House on Monday and was attended among others by Senators Nauman Wazir Khattak, Nuzhat Sadiq, Muhammad Akram, Pervaiz Rasheed, Muhammad Ali Shah Jamot, Minister for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal, Managing Director Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW) Rear Admiral Ather Saleem and officials from the ministry and KS&EW.
The meeting also held a briefing on the establishment of Gwadar Shipyard project on an area of 750 acres of land. Chairman Committee observed that shipyards are considered strategic assets for any country as they not only contribute to country’s indigenous commercial and defence pursuits but also earn lot of revenue through ship exports. He said that the summary for the construction of a shipyard at Gwadar was approved by the previous government. Presently 750 acres of land with 4KM of sea port has been demarcated and allotted at Sur nullah and even Rs. 200m have been released for the activation of Project Management Cell. The Committee, however laid stress to expedite the work on the project for its completion in a given time frame and the Ministry of Defence Production should supervise all the work with conducting feasibility studies from infrastructure to future load and density requirements. The Minister told the meeting that Labour and administrative trainings in Balochistan to provide employment to the people of the area will also be a part of the agreement and the shipyard will be made as a modelof having an entire city in itself.
During the meeting it was also highlighted that at the time of creation of Pakistan, we only inherited one shipyard at Chittagangwhich was modernized in 1922 by the British. Bangladeshnow has 23 shipyards and has become ship exporting country, while India has over 43 big shipyards. Pakistan unfortunately still only remains dependent on Karachi Shipyard and engineering Works Limited (KS&EW) constructed in 1957.
Karachi Shipyard was established in 1956 as a public limited company and covers an area of 71 acres. The shipyard is headed by a Managing Director and has a total of 2800 people working in it. The shipyard has 2 graving docks, 3 ship building berths and 2 quay walls. Till day 448 ships have been designed and prepared by the shipyard including some ships made for UAE, Saudi Arabia, China, Iran and Belgium. Karachi Shipyard has also manufactured Pakistan Navy Fleet Tanker having a capacity of 17000 tons of displacement as well as two helicopters simultaneously. Other projects include aluminium boats, fast track craft missile, and submarines. In addition the shipyard also carries out ship repair work and other general engineering projects. The shipyard has a Ship lifting capacity of 7881 tons and has a parking space of 12 vessels. The Shipyard also carries out infrastructure up-gradation of its facilities.
KS&WE which is ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certified by M/s Lioyd’s Register UK, has made tremendous contributions by building 448 ships and repairing over 5000 vessels of national and international origin. It has become financially self-sustaining and its productivity will further enhance after completion of its ship lift and Transfer System project. Ever since KS& EW was placed under Defence Production ministry with Naval Chief as head of its board of Governors, Its performance skyrocketed. The Committee recommended conducting value chain analysis and working on pricing mechanism, as well as tariff determination for competitive advantage. The Committee also supported the proposal of asking the commercial attaches to work as ex-officio defence attaches in different countries.
Regarding purchase of surplus electricity from Pakistan Ordnance Factory Solar Plant, Sanjwal, the committee was told by POF that NEPRA has approved the case and licence has been issued two days ago. Consultations with IESCO are also in process and after the due requirements wheeling charges will be paid to IESCO. The Committee reiterated that this one example is successful after the committee persistently followed the project and other organisations should also follow this example of generating energy from non-renewable sources and giving surplus electricity to the national grid. The Committee was told that within three months the committee will be given compliance status of the work.