Logistics

L&T's shipyard in TN near ready; waits for Defence orders

N.K. Kurup S. Shanker Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on July 19, 2011

Mr A.M. Naik

Larsen & Toubro's Rs 2,000-crore shipyard at Kattupalli in Tamil Nadu is almost ready but hardly has any order worth its capability.

The yard, which has been designed for building large Defence vessels, is yet to find favour with the Defence Ministry.

Mr A.M. Naik, Chairman, L&T, said the Government has been continuing with its policy of keeping away the private sector from Defence. The yard is built with the capabilities to meet the capacity gap in the Defence production.

Awaits high-end war ships

“Merchant ships are not what we are looking for. The yard is built for making large high-end warships,” said Mr Naik.

“Right now, we have no choice but to go for commercial ships and repairs,” he said in an interview to Business Line.

The Kattupalli yard has been set up jointly with Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation and is expected to be fully commissioned early next year.

As such, it is in a position to take up construction in the workshops that are ready, said Mr M.V. Kotwal, Senior Executive Vice-President and Director, L&T.

The company, which also has a shipyard at Hazira in Gujarat, has a contract to build 36 vessels for the Coast Guard. The order will be partially executed at Kattupalli.

The Kattupalli yard is mainly built for making warships and to augment the existing capacity at Hazira for sub-marines.

Navy requirements

A draft of up to 14 metres and a waterfront exceeding 2.2 km make the facility well suited to build large Defence ships, Mr Kotwal said.

“The Indian Navy requires a large number of submarines, frigates and other warships. We are looking forward to these orders” he said.

The Defence Ministry has placed a large number of orders with the public sector Mazagaon Dock in Mumbai and the Garden Reach Shipbuilding Engineers in Kolkata on nomination basis. It will take a long time for these yards to complete the delivery due to capacity constraints.

“We will be happy to take up some of those requirements. We are already making equipment, including weapon systems, for warships. We have the capability and the technical know-how to build frigates and warships,” said Mr Kotwal.

For L&T, to use its Kattupalli facility for low technology tankers would be sub-optimal.

Repairs and refits

However, it is ideally placed to undertake ship, submarine repairs and refits using the 18,000 tonne ship-lift being installed there. Once commissioned, a number of vessels can be repaired at a time.

At the Kattupalli facility, encompassing 1,200 acres, L&T has also commissioned facilities to build offshore platforms, drilling rigs and FPSOs (floating production, storage and offloading unit), besides a minor port which can handle container ships.

At Hazira complex, apart from the heavy workshops which have played a crucial role in construction of India's first nuclear submarine, INS Arihant, the yard has been building specialised multi-purpose ‘ro-ro/lo-lo' semi-submersible commercial ships for handling heavy cargo, said Mr Kotwal.

Recent orders

A ro-ro is a roll-on roll-off ocean going cargo ship, which can set up a ramp at dockside and roll on most types of wheeled vehicles such as containers, trailers, trucks and cars.

A lo-lo cargo vessel is a ship that has cranes on board to load or unload cargo.

Of late, the Indian private sector yards have been getting orders for building small Defence vessels.

Recently, ABG Shipyard received a $215 million order for building two training ships from the Navy.

The Navy also awarded the Pipavav Shipyard a $600 million order for making gunboats.

Published on July 19, 2011
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