AHMEDABAD: India’s first roll-on roll-off passenger ferry (Ro Pax) service is expected to be launched between Ghogha (Bhavnagar district) and Dahej (Bharuch) in Gujarat across the Gulf of Cambay in April 2017.
As part of promoting Coastal Shipping in the Country under the Sagarmala programme, the Union Ministry of Shipping had released Rs. 58.50 crore for dredging as the first instalment of grant-in-aid to port regulator Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB).
The total project cost is estimated to be Rs. 234 crore, of which 50 per cent will be funded by the Centre under the Sagarmala programme.
When completed, the project will reduce the motorable distance of 231 km between Ghogha and Dahej to a mere 31 km and travel time from seven hours to less than one hour as passengers will be able to cross 17 nautical miles in the Gulf of Cambay. It will also save fuel, reduce carbon dioxide emission and road congestion.
It is a first-of-its-kind of project in India as it will be executed in an area that boasts the world’s second highest tidal range. It will open up new avenues in coastal shipping and tourism and help in socio-economic development of the region. It will also help in using inland waterways through the Narmada river for shipping goods from industries located upstream.