How Indian shipbuilding can be a bigger global player in a post Covid-19 scenario

Lady Hedwig has the honour of being India’s first vessel in the export market post-lockdown due to Covid-19. The Lady Hedwig, built by Chowgule and Company pvt ltd, is also the first Ice Class vessel to be built in India. The ship is a great example of the resilience of the shipbuilding industry after it was hit by the Covid-19 lockdown. Shipbuilding is labour intensive and the lockdown saw the majority of migrant workers returning to their homes. Strategically important to India, this industry is an essential part of the government’s ‘Make in India’ campaign. With much higher employment effects as compared to a lot of other sectors, it is essential that the government gives a push to the shipbuilding sector. As of 2019, the Indian shipbuilding industry represents only 0.045% of the global share. This is miniscule compared to China’s 40% and Japan and Republic of Korea’s 25% each. If an impetus is given, industry experts hope that India gains a greater share by 2030. Until then, as the Indian economy limps out of the pandemic, the launch of Lady Hedwig to the Netherlands is being viewed as the beginning of a great journey for the Indian shipbuilding industry.