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Pakistan Senate Committee calls for shipbuilding growth
February 22, 2018
The third Azmat-class fast attack craft. Photo credit: Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works

Pakistan Senate Committee calls for shipbuilding growth

The Pakistani Senate Standing Committee on Defence Production called for expediting expansion to the Pakistani shipbuilding industry through pushing through an already project for constructing a shipyard in Gwadar, the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reports.

In a briefing to the Committee, the Managing Director of Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW), Rear Admiral Syed Hasan Nasir Shah, outlined that KSEW had thus far constructed 445 vessels of various types and displacements for domestic and overseas customers.

The Committee Chairman, Senator Lt. Gen (retired) Abdul Qayyum, stated that shipbuilding is a key input for economic growth and prosperity. The Committee was concerned with delays in the construction of a second shipyard in Gwadar, outlining that it would result in an increase in employment if completed.

In July, the Committee had recommended that construction of the Gwadar Shipyard be expedited. But at the time, Chairman Abdul Qayyum expressed “concerns” of the program steward, which at that time was the Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP).

However, work is underway to improve Pakistan’s shipbuilding efficiency and output.

In July, KSEW signed a $29.8 million U.S. order with the Norwegian company TTS Group for the latter’s Syncrolift ship-lift-and-transfer system. Slotted for delivery in 2019, the Syncrolift, along with a network of “advanced hydraulic transfer trollies”, will enable KSEW to manage up to 13 projects in-land.

In its 2015-2016 report, the MoDP stated that the Syncrolift lift-and-transfer system would allow KSEW to “increase business capacity and efficiency of ship turnover by three times.”

KSEW’s forthcoming programs include the construction of a 90 m Damen Shipyards offshore patrol vessel (OPV); four air-independent propulsion (AIP)-powered submarines of a China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co. Ltd design (with the first steel-cutting ceremony scheduled for October 2020); and – if a deal is inked – two MILGEM corvettes in collaboration with Turkey’s Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret AŞ (STM).

Currently, KSEW is currently constructing the fourth Azmat-class fast attack craft-missile or FAC(M) for the Pakistan Navy along with a 1,500-ton maritime patrol vessel for the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency. It is also working with STM to upgrade the Navy’s three Khalid-class Agosta 90B AIP-equipped submarines and completing the 17,000-ton Pakistan Navy Fleet Tanker.

  • Salman

    The problem with pakistan ship building industry is not the lack of a second shipyard.

    The problem is lack of any design capability, complete dependance on foreign, inability to secure international contracts of any significance on a viable basis. KSEW is only a workshop. Marine Systems Limited (nescom) is only a Lab with focus on limited and “easy” electronic subsystems. Both are hollow organizations.

    • Steve

      Send a few bright young engineers to China for PhD’s and training apprenticeships. Maybe some to Europe as well. The next generation is where our salvation lies not fossilised old people who have presided over a failed system.

      • TZK

        One of the systemic problem with Pak is that its got the worst aspects of the capitalist system without any benefits of capitalism. The problem with training is where do these trained people find work and sending them abroad will mean you will never see them again once trained. Best way to do it is invest in existing public industry such as HIT, PAC, POF etc. Form partnerships with equivalents overseas and then send them for training in partner companies and Universities should be also be collaborating. PAC should be sending droves of people to CAC for training if they have not already been doing that.

  • Jigsaw

    Good to see senate also thinks about this area once in a while. PN needs major support from Gov to achieve something notable here otherwise they will continue importing and co-assembling things as little as FACs even. Turkish defence industry turnaround should be a good example for Pakistan. I believe they need to start thinking like PAF to have a long term plan to become independent in naval sourcing, starting with collaboration projects.

  • sami shahid

    Ship building facility in Gwadar is must.

    • Salman

      @sami. Interested to know why do you think that ship building facility in Gwadar is a must?

      Gwadar is a small desolate place. Why would you move infrastructure and resources from Karachi to Gwadar? Which engineers and technical staff would live there? Who are subcontractors and suppliers there?

      Gwadar does not even have fresh water for the current popoulation. PN currently ships in drinking water.

      Gwadar is good for a naval and air defence base. Thats it. It is and will be a failure as a commercial port

      • Headstrong

        Can’t a few desalination plants with adequate capacity do the trick? It does in the Middle East

      • sami shahid

        Very nice question…. in case our ship building facility gets damaged during war we need another production facility to continue the war. If we develop a ship building yard in Gwadar then maybe we can increase the production if required and for sure people of Gwadar will get jobs. As for water then the 5 million gallon desalination plant is just about to be launched.

  • bill

    May be PN should develop raw materials like steel/fibers indigenous along with development of sonars, torpedoes, and should also enter in field of Radars. Then they should on experimental basis try to rebuild Agosta 70 from scratch to get real experience of submarine building and also lighter stealthier ships.

    • TZK

      Perhaps in collaboration with Turkey or China.

  • Hashim Rasheed

    I agree with some of the comments here. The problem is not lack of infrastructure, but its the lack of design capability. And to me it seems just a lack of initiative. Pakistan is already building small boats and Fast Attack Crafts. Just like Turkey has expanded on their corvettes and made them bigger to make a frigate, Pakistan could have also done the same, made bigger boats with more capability. By now, they should have been making their own frigates.

    Its never too late. The PN can follow the lead of PAF with the JF-17, and make some boats to fulfill their requirements for now, while progressively improving their capability to meet future needs.

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