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Inter Ocean Ship Repair: Cutting costs, not customers

Inter Ocean Ship Repair’s reputation is a globally trusted name when it comes to getting a job done anywhere, anytime, Ved Chhabra, chairman and managing director, tells Maritime CEO.

Chhabra, a pioneer in ship repair and shipbuilding fields, has been well known in shipping circles since 1976. His seagoing experience as a chief engineer and then as an entrepreneur in ship repair and shipbuilding for six decades has been remarkable.

After a successful career at sea, he decided to turn from sailing to entrepreneurship in 1967 and established a niche service in the field of shipbuilding and ship repair, at a time when such a field had been barely heard of. He spearheaded the building of ships and exported the first known seagoing vessel from India in 1976.

With the ambition o expanding his core business beyond the shores of India, he established Inter Ocean Ship Repairs in Dubai in 1991. Today, in addition to Dubai, Chhabra heads a group of companies headquartered in Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, and also has a presence in Mumbai.

The group is one of the largest ship repair outfits in the region, with a presence at all the ports in the United Arab Emirates. Inter Ocean has signed service agreements with numerous international shipowners and managers. Over 300 clients, including shipowners, operators, and shipyards, trust the company to organise, plan, and perform critical maintenance and repair work.

“In this journey of excellence, we have succeeded in building stronger relationships with clients which are carefully nurtured, resulting in a sound base of repeated clients that continue with Inter Ocean Group in the turbulent market. We try to maintain customer loyalty in a challenging market by cutting costs, not customers,” says Chhabra.

Inter Ocean plans to consolidate its current operations in Dubai. The company has initiated a new investment of about AED8m($2.2m) for a much larger facility in Dubai Maritime City, where it will expand its current operations through additional equipment to make the company a one-stop all-embracing workshop.

Through the leadership of Chhabra, ship repair has, of course, been the core activity over all these years, and the company has become a specialist in larger quantities of steel renewal, under approved classification societies. Although the ship repairing sector has been passing through challenging times with plummeting prices, cancellation of repairs and many other factors, Inter Ocean Group maintained a strong performance.

“Over the years, through constant technological improvements and upgrading of our capability, we can capitalise on new opportunities in the repair field”, Chhabra notes. “We have made huge capital investments in the development of ship repair yard, replacement of machinery and equipment, and the construction of new workshop, and are confident that these measures will support Inter Ocean’s future growth.”

For Chhabra, being a service industry, it is paramount that assets are kept to very high standards and that the quality of the people who run them is second to none. “The consistent financial stability enables the company to keep up with technological innovations and continue upgrading our facilities, sharpening the skills and capability of our workforce to cater to the increasingly sophisticated needs and demands of customers.”

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