Larsen & Toubro Ltd has emerged the lowest bidder in a tender issued by Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract of a new dry dock — the third in the state-run yard.

India’s biggest engineering and construction firm placed the lowest rate for the EPC contract, a Shipping Ministry official briefed on the tendering process said without disclosing the rate.

CSL had sold shares in an initial public offering (IPO) in August 2017 to part-fund a ₹2,769-crore expansion plan comprising the construction of a ₹1,799-crore dry dock at its yard and a ₹970-crore international ship repair facility next door, at Cochin Port Trust.

The company said its existing two dry docks permit building of ships up to 110,000 dead weight tonnage (dwt) and repairing of ships of up to 125,000 dwt.

“These limitations have restricted our ability to expand business by constructing larger vessels, for which we believe there is greater demand and on which we believe we can achieve better profit margins by increasing our annual output,” said Cochin Shipyard in documents filed with market regulator SEBI for the IPO.

Stepped dock

The new dry dock will help CSL build very large ships such as capesize bulk carriers, general cargo ships, Aframax and Suezmax tankers, Panamax and post Panamax type container ships, LNG carriers, oil drilling rigs, semi-submersible rigs and better versions of aircraft carriers.

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

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

CSL had awarded Simplex Infrastructures Ltd the EPC contract for the new ship repair facility it is setting up at Cochin Port Trust.