Business News of 2014-02-25

PSC Tema shipyard attracts more ship owners

Management of the PSC Tema shipyard says as part of measures to boost the confidence of its clients, it has reviewed its timing policy to ensure that vessels are not unnecessarily delayed when they call for repairs and maintenance at the yard.

Chief Executive Officer of the Shipyard, Mr. HRT Ali says previously vessels that called at the yard for repairs and maintenance works could spend up to 45 days there, but now takes a maximum of ten days and at worst 14 days to work on such vessels.

Last week when the Maritime and Transport Digest visited the shipyard, work was ongoing on a 55 thousand tonne capacity tanker vessel, the Nippon Princess.

The vessel which is one of the largest to visit the shipyard in recent times for repairs was done within 15 days instead of the previous 45 days it would have taken to work on such a huge vessel.

The 229 metre Nippon Princess which underwent various works at the shipyard including spraying attracted a lot of attention because of its huge nature.

A representative of the owner of the vessel, Captain Kappas who was impressed with the speed and dispatch with which the vessel was done, said it was for the first time that such a thing had happened given the fact that he has been a regular user of the shipyard.

He was optimistic that the fortunes of the shipyard would improve as many other vessels would want to use it for being faster and efficient in handling repairs.

According to Mr. HRT Ali who took over the reins of the shipyard as Chief Executive Officer less than six months ago, the situation where a shipowner is promised 20 days and eventually spends two months in the shipyard did not augur well for the image of the company, adding that the latest move is part of a rebranding exercise aimed at enhancing the image of the shipyard.

Explaining further, Mr. Ali pointed out that the shipyard was in the past viewed as a rowdy and lawless place and didn’t conform to rules and norms, noting that all that had changed since he assumed leadership of the company.

He explained that management was doing all it can to ensure that the company becomes profitable and viable, and operates on its own balance sheet.

He noted that things were being done in the past without recourse to international best practices, necessitating that steps be taken to change completely the modus operandi of the shipyard to ensure value for money and also guarantee a safe and conducive working environment for the hard working staff.

‘’Issues of procurement for instance was just a one man show, so I had to form a three man committee which is now in charge of all matters relating to the subject and so far so good. I have also tightened security because the facility was just opened to every Tom, Dick and Harry so I made sure that anyone getting in and getting out are captured documentation-wise and with regards to the payment policy by our clients, it was 10% to 50%, but I said no, 100% and after the initial fear of driving clients away, they agreed and it is working perfectly’’ Mr. Ali said.

According to him, there is also a 10% no show policy which means when a ship owner books the shipyard and does not turn up, he forfeits 10% of the total amount he was being charged for the repair of the vessel.

Mr. Ali who was speaking to the issue of the new timing policy of the company in an interview with the Maritime and Transport Digest noted that he has also embarked on some training programmes for staff covering both managers and other staff to keep them abreast with trends in the industry and ensure that they operate effectively and efficiently.

He noted that management was doing its best to ensure that the shipyard stays afloat even under extreme pressure from operating with obsolete machinery and equipment.

He further opined that the shipyard even though fully booked till June this year was still operating below capacity, adding that the facility can also do fabrication works including manufacturing of tank farms, garbage skips, Water tanks and many more.

He stressed that these were areas he intends to market to the general public in order to attract more business to the company.

The yard he pointed out is calm in spite of the strong union that operates there, stating that the open-door policy that he operates caters for the concerns of all the workers, hence the peaceful atmosphere that is currently prevailing in the yard.

Vice Chairman of the Worker’s Union of the company, Mr. Eric Tibu on his part attributed the cordial relationship that exists between management and the workers to the openness and transparency of the current Chief Executive Officer of the company, adding that the workers are fired up for work because they believe the shipyard now belongs to them and currently enjoys the right leadership.

In his view, government should give the board and management of the shipyard the free hand to operate to enable them maximise the potential of the shipyard, stressing that the same level of leeway that has been allowed the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority must be extended to the board and management of the shipyard too.

General Secretary of the Maritime and Dockworkers Union (MDU), Mr. Daniel Owusu Koranteng who was also present on the last day that the Nippon Princess was being worked on said even though the company was not completely out of the challenges that it grappled with in the past, the prospects that lay ahead were bright.

"I think that for now, the management of PSC Tema shipyard is striking the right cord which is getting the workers so motivated and one thing we must also realise is that workers by their nature love to work, there is a certain psychological satisfaction that workers have for working," Mr. Owusu Koranteng noted.

He described the workers of the shipyard as people who are hard working and patriotic, noting that management was also making very good use of the hard work and patriotism being exhibited by the workers.

Mr. Owusu Koranteng was also happy that the shipyard was enjoying tremendous peace at the moment, adding that the current happenings in the shipyard was a clear demonstration that when given the opportunity, the Ghanaian and the African for that matter was capable of handling his own affairs, in apparent reference to the previous Malaysian managers who were deemed to have mismanaged the facility before the takeover by government.

Source: Kennedy Mornah - Maritime and Transport Digest
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