State-run Cochin Shipyard Ltd has partially resumed operations from Monday after shutting down on March 23 in the wake of the lockdown imposed by the government to slow the spread of coronavirus.
“Cochin Shipyard has partially opened on March 27 after taking special permission from the Kerala government”, a Shipping Ministry official said.
Production on about ₹15,000 crore worth of orders has not resumed in full swing, but critical work is being attended to. For instance, departments such as marketing, design, materials are almost open. The yard is working in two shifts – from 07:00 Hours to 12:30 Hours and after a one-hour gap, from 13:30 Hours to 19:00 Hours.
The yard shut down also hurt its ability to carry out ship repair works for which it has sufficient orders.
It is looking to complete some of these works on a priority basis. “But, the fear is that by deploying more workers on the project site, if one Covid-19 positive case comes, the authorities will seal the yard completely. Then, to re-open the yard would be a tough task,” the official said.
“Cochin Shipyard is, therefore, treading cautiously and plans to run like this for a week and see how it goes before ramping-up,” the Ministry official said.
With uncertainty over the trajectory of the global and local economy, the yard’s potential customers are holding back on capital expansion plans.
“Future orders are a bit of a concern to the yard. It will complete the on-going orders, that is not a cause for worry. As of today, there is not much of a cash flow problem at CSL,” the Ministry official said.
The firm has also re-started work on Monday on two expansion projects – constructing a second dry dock in its own premises and an international ship repair facility at adjacent Cochin Port Trust.
However, it’s under construction facility in Kolkata is stalled as government authorities denied permission to resume work, citing lockdown in Howrah, a coronavirus hotspot.
The lockdown restrictions may delay taking possession of Tebma Shipyards Ltd, which CSL acquired through the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) for ₹65 crore.
On March 4, the Chennai-bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approved the resolution plan submitted by CSL.