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Cochin shipyard to spread its wings to the east coast to set up ship repair facilities in Andaman and Kolkata

The state owned Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) is actively considering a proposal to set up ship-building and repair facilities in Andaman and Nicobar, Gujarat, Kolkata and Mumbai.

This was disclosed by Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari in an interview to a news agency."

Cochin shipyard is being expanded to set up ship building and repair facilities in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Kolkata Mumbai and Gujarat. Ships should be built with new technologies. The process is on," Gadkari said.

An agreement with Andaman and Nicobar has been formalised to this effect, Gadkari said.

The state-owned firm, a leading player in the shipbuilding and repair industry, saw its initial public offering (IPO) getting oversubscribed as many as 75 times last month.

CSL is building four passenger-cum–cargo vessels for the Andaman and Nicobar administration under the Make in India initiative and as per orders placed by the administration, two of these will have a capacity of 500 persons-cum-150 tonne cargo and the remaining two 1,200 persons-cum-1,000 tonne cargo. The ships are built at a cost of about Rs 1,500 crore.

The passenger ships run by the Andaman administration from Chennai and Kolkata barring Swaraj deep have become obsolete and need to be scrapped. A passenger vessel running on Chennai port Blair circuit M V Akbar is berthed in Chennai port for the past two years.

Three vessels are plying from Chennai and Kolkata to Port Blair. The voyage time is three days but since the vessels are old they take four days to reach the destination,

"Besides the agreement with Andaman and Nicobar, Cochin shipyard will take over the ailing Kolkata's Hooghly dock. They will make new barges," the minister said.

CSL plans to build Rs 100-crore facility on the shore of the Hooghly in Kolkata for construction of vessels for inland water transport.

Gadkari said, "We have tied up with a German company. We are changing designs so that same capacity barge with same engine can carry 4,000-5,000 tonnes of cargo instead of early 2,000 tonnes. We are trying to tie up with international companies so that we can use methanol."

A spokesman of of the Cochin shipyard said that in line with the shipping ministry's and the government's road map, the shipyard has been in talks with major port trusts for setting up ship repair facilities.

The company is lining up Rs 3,100 crore over the next five years for capacity expansion in ship-building and repair. It also plans to create an international ship repair facility within the yard, for which it has already leased a 42-acre plot from the Cochin Port Trust.

CSL is the only shipyard in India that can build up to 1,10,000 DWT (deadweight tonnes) with a track record of making tankers, bulk carriers, port crafts and passenger vessels, among others. Currently, it is into constructing platform supply vessels for exports and aircraft carrier for the Indian Navy.

It is also the only shipyard in the country which can fix vessels up to 1,25,000 DWT, besides being the only yard that can repair an air defence ship. ndia's first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, is in its final stage of construction at CSL.

CSL completed its landmark IPO in August, which was a big hit, attracting more than Rs 1.11 lakh crore as against the offer size of Rs 1,442 crore.

The PSU had clocked revenue of Rs 2,059 crore in 2016-17, with ship-building operations accounting for 74 per cent and repair the rest. Its profit after tax was Rs 312 crore.

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