The shipping and waterways ministry has identified nine domestic locations and six international routes, connecting four international destinations, including Chattogram in Bangladesh, Seychelles and Madagascar in Africa and Jaffna in Sri Lanka, from Indian major coastal port towns with ferry services.
The nine domestic locations are Hazira, Okha, Somnath Temple, Diu, Pipavav, Dahej, Mumbai/ JNPT, Jamnagar, Kochi, Ghogha, Goa, Mundra and Mandvi for ferry and RO-RO (Roll-on Roll-Off) services.
These routes have been identified under the Sagarmala project, a flagship programme of the ministry, which aims to promote port-led development through harnessing India’s 7,500 km long coastline and potentially navigable waterways.
The ministry recent launched 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 five hours. This will result in huge savings of fuel to the tune of about 9,000 litres per day, it said.
Officials said now there is greater focus on developing inland waterways and using them for passenger and freight movement, which is aimed at reducing transport cost. Waterway is the cheapest mode for transportation.