Shipping ministry identifies new routes for coastal shipping, ferry services
29 December 2020
Ministry of ports, shipping and waterways (MoPSW) has identified domestic locations such as Hazira, Okha, Somnath Temple, Diu, Pipavav, Dahej, Mumbai/JNPT, Jamnagar, Kochi, Ghogha, Goa, Mundra and Mandvi and six International routes, connecting four international destinations, namely, Chattogram (Bangladesh), Seychelles (East Africa) Madagascar (East Africa) and Jaffna (Sri Lanka) from major coastal port towns in India for the commencement of ferry services through inland waterways.
MoPSW has been working continuously for the promotion of coastal shipping under Sagarmala Programme. The Sagarmala programme is the flagship programme of the ministry to promote port-led development in the country through harnessing India’s 7,500 km long coastline and potentially navigable waterways.
The ministry, through Sagarmala Development Company Limited (SDCL), is looking to facilitate the companies to operate RO-RO, RO-PAX and ferry services on various routes across the nation and provide the required support to make the project operational.
MOPSW has recently successfully implemented one of such ferry routes by deploying RoPAX vessel ferry service between Hazira and Ghogha. 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 5 hours. This will result in huge savings of fuel (approx. 9000 litres per day)
To replicate the success of the business model, the shipping ministry is encouraging private operators to identify the routes, which offer potential to commence RO-RO, RO-PAX ferry service based on the localised demand to promote the supplementary and sustainable mode of the transportation through coastal/inland water.
The plan is to create a supplementary mode of transportation, which will not only be beneficial for the daily commuters, tourists’ movement and cargo transportation but also helpful in reducing carbon footprint by shifting to environment-friendly mode of transportation from rail and road.
Besides, it would provide impetus to the tourism industry, create job opportunities in the coastal regions, bring in saving in terms of both cost and time for the users and decongest road and rail networks.
Sagarmala Development Company Ltd will support the initiative by providing equity to the project in SPV framework, if required, and provide other assistance and facilitation to the private operator, including obtaining various permissions and approvals from regulatory and statutory government authorities.