Centre identifies new ferry routes via inland waterways

Centre identifies new routes for ferry services through inland waterways

The destinations along with six international routes have been identified under the Sagarmala project

Ro-Pax ferry vessel ‘Voyage Symphony’ on trial ahead of the launch of its service between Hazira and Ghogha. Credit: PTI.

To promote coastal shipping and boost tourism, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) has identified new routes for ferry and Ro-Ro (Roll-on Roll-off) services that include Somnath Temple, Hazira, Okha and Jamnagar.

The destinations along with six international routes have been identified under the Sagarmala project, a flagship programme of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW).

The programme aims to promote port-led development in the country through harnessing India's 7,500 km long coastline and potentially navigable waterways.

"MoPSW has identified domestic locations namely Hazira, Okha, Somnath Temple, DIU, PIPAVAV, Dahej, Mumbai/JNPT, Jamnagar, Kochi, Ghogha, Goa, Mundra and Mandvi...for the commencement of ferry services through inland waterways," the ministry said in a statement.

Besides, six international routes, connecting 4 international destinations namely Chattogram (Bangladesh), Seychelles (East Africa) Madagascar (East Africa) and Jaffna (Sri Lanka) from major Indian coastal port towns have been identified for these services.

The ministry said it has been working continuously for the promotion of coastal shipping under Sagarmala programme.

MoPSW has recently implemented one of such services by deploying Ro-Pax 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 10-12 hours to about 5 hours. This will result in huge savings of fuel to the tune of about 9,000 litres per day, it said.

"To replicate the success of the above business model, MoPSW now encourages private operators to identify the routes which 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/inland waterways," the statement said.