India plans to privatise ordnance depots, base workshops operations

Photo for Representational Purposes Only.

By N. C. Bipindra

New Delhi: Seeking to streamline and modernise its ordnance inventory management, the Indian Army is planning to hand over operations of the Central Ordnance Depots (CODs) to private contractors, aiming to adopt best business practices in warehousing and supply chain, currently prevalent in the logistic sector.

To identify probable private contractors, who can take up the task of running the central ordnance depots across the country, the Indian Army has come up with a Request for Information (RFI) on Dec. 19 to throw open the Kanpur-based COD as a first step.

Though the private contractors will operate the CODs, the facility will continue to be owned by the government and hence the plan is to implement the ‘Government-Owned, Contractor-Operated‘ (GOCO) model, starting with the COD Kanpur, according to the document seen by Defence.Capital.

The primary aim of the current exercise regarding COD Kanpur is to shortlist service providers of repute with experience in warehousing, logistics and supply chain management. Interested service providers have been given six weeks to respond to the RFI.

The plan is allow the selected service provider to take over present infrastructure and related services as the COD Kanpur on “as it is and where it is” basis and to later transfer the responsibility of maintenance of the complete infrastructure to the selected service provider, who will also absorb the existing civilian manpower and workforce at the facility.

COD Kanpur Role and Functions

Established in 1941, COD Kanpur is a premier institution for supply chain management of General Stores and Clothing items for the Indian Army. The supply chain of the Indian Army consists of Central Ordnance Depots, which carry out central provisioning and procurement of a particular range of items and supply or distribute these to other stocking echelons/units. The total range of inventory of COD Kanpur is 4,045 items as on date.

COD Kanpur holds at an average approximately 70,000 tons of stores at any given point of time. These stores are held in five Sub-Depots, details of which are as under:

  • Life Cycle and Hospital Clothing items.
  • Winter Clothing items, Footwear and Headgear.
  • Tentage items, Camping and Digging items.
  • Cooking Utensils and Kitchen equipment.
  • Saddlery and Supply Dropping Equipment.

The stocking facilities at COD Kanpur consist of 13 warehouses with Automated Storage and Retrieval System, 11 hangars and 243 storage sheds. The storage infrastructure and related facilities of the depot were partially modernised between 2001 to 2010.

Industry Consultation

The Indian Army’s Master General Ordnance Branch has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers Private Limited (PwC) to run an industry consultation regarding the GOCO model for Army Base Workshops (ABWs) too.

As part of the process, PwC intends to hold conferences and consultations with the industry, who may be interested in participating in the process going forward.

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