The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) has identified 13 domestic locations to connect four international destinations in Bangladesh, East Africa and Sri Lanka.
The locations in Hazira, Okha, Somnath Temple, Diu, Pipavav, Dahej, Mumbai, Jamnagar, Kochi, Ghogha, Goa, Mundra and Mandvi will utilise six international sea routes to connect Chattogram (Bangladesh), Seychelles (East Africa), Madagascar (East Africa) and Jaffna (Sri Lanka) from the major coastal port towns in India through ferry services using inland waterways.
MoPSW intends to facilitate the commencement of roll-on/roll-off (RO-RO), roll-on/roll-off passenger (ROPAX) and ferry services on various routes across the nation and provide the required support to make the project operational.
Recently, MOPSW has successfully implemented one such ferry route by deploying ROPAX vessel ferry service between Hazira and Ghogha in Gujarat. This ferry service has reduced the distance between Ghogha and Hazira from 370 km to 90 km and travel time from 10 to 12 hours to about five hours. This has also resulted in saving 9,000 litres of duel daily.
To replicate the success of the Hazira-Ghogha business model, MoPSW is encouraging private operators to identify the routes that offer potential to commence the RO-RO, RO-PAX ferry service based on the localised demand to promote the supplementary and sustainable mode of transportation through coastal and inland waterways. The aim is to create a supplementary mode of transportation, develop job opportunities in the coastal regions, enable saving in terms of both cost and time for the users and decongest road and rail networks.
The Sagarmala Development Company Ltd will support the initiative by providing equity to the project under the special purpose vehicle (SPV) framework, if required, and provide other assistance and facilitation to the private operators. This also includes obtaining various permissions and approvals from regulatory and statutory authorities.