Cochin Shipyard Ltd, India’s biggest state-owned shipbuilder by dock capacity, will start work on a Rs 1,799 crore new dry dock, its third, on Tuesday as the Mumbai-listed firm looks to expand capacity to tap potential for constructing and repairing specialized and technologically advanced large vessels including aircraft carriers.

Along with a Rs 970 crore international ship repair facility being developed at next door Cochin Port Trust, Cochin will turn into a one stop maritime hub for repairs of all vessels calling at Indian ports, chairman and managing director Madhu Nair told Business Line.

The new dry dock will generate employment opportunities for about 2,000 people (direct and indirect) in the core shipbuilding and ancillary and supporting industry sector. Besides, it will help develop a strong ancillary base in the country for ship building, promote adaption of world class technology and shipbuilding skills and training of youth, he said.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari will break ground for the new dry dock – the second largest in India and the largest and more dynamic amongst its three docks in terms of ships docked - on Tuesday.

The mini-ratna PSU said that the new dry will contribute towards the target of increasing India’s share of the global shipbuilding industry to 2 per cent from 0.4 per cent.

Cochin Shipyard sold shares in an initial public offering (IPO) in August 2017 to part-fund a Rs 2,769 crore expansion plan comprising construction a Rs 1,799 crore new dry dock and a Rs 970 crore international ship repair facility.

The new dry dock would be a ‘stepped’ dock with a length of 310 m (the existing dry docks have a length of 270m), width of 75m at the wider part and width of 60m at the narrower part and depth of 13m with a draught of up to 9.5m.

It will be equipped with one 600-ton capacity gantry crane, two LLTT cranes each with a capacity of 75 tons with an option to add another 600-ton gantry crane at a later stage. The dock floor is designed to take a load of 600 ton/m.

The stepped dock will enable longer vessels to fill the length of the dock and wider, shorter vessels such as jack-up rigs to be built or repaired at the wider part.

The new dry dock will help Cochin diversify its product portfolio to build large, complex and technology intensive vessels such as LNG vessels, jack up rigs, drill ships, dredgers, a second indigenous aircraft carrier of much larger capacity than the one it is building for the Indian Navy, high end research vessels and repair of offshore platforms and larger vessels.

The new dry dock can accommodate aircraft carriers of 70,000 tons docking displacement and tankers and merchant vessels of 55,000 tons docking displacement.

Larsen & Toubro Ltd was awarded the turnkey contract for the new dry dock for Rs 1,298.76 crores, which is expected to be completed by May 2021.